Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays---- where do stories begin?


I just watched a video of Neil Peart playing drums with the Buddy Rich Big Band. He was the drummer at the first concert I ever went to, which was way back in the day when I was a bit of a punk who loved a certain power trio called Rush.

When was it that I first listened to 2112, an LP purchased by an elder sister? Why did she by it, or did I?

Or was it hearing Fly By Night on the radio?

Where was I recently when I heard a documentary was made about Rush?

How did I reconnect with a friend from HS on facebook and why after all these years is his passion for Rush (and he is not alone out there) did he let all of us know that he had gone to see Rush in the same city I saw them 35 +/- years ago. Was it because he wanted me to remember to ad that DVD to my list at Netflix, so I just watched it and that is why I know he is not alone.

And I found out that Neil Peart had played with the big band.

But why did Buddy Rich's Daughter invite Neil Peart to play in a tribute concert, maybe because so many feel he is the best drummer... 4 straight years all types of drummers have voted him the best drummer.

Maybe he wants to get better, and so after that concert and bit disappointed with his performance, and while on tour with Rush he organized a way to get 20 of the best drummers in the world to be recorded with the Buddy Rich Big Band, and so, like I said, "I just watched a video..."

Of the first drummer (and best?) I ever saw swinging, because he so wanted to swing!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Science Mondays--- and how would they know such a thing

Speed of Light

So I tell my students the speed of light and I hope for a question like... Why should we believe that? After all it moves at 299,792.458 kilometers in one second. The question I throw out, how is it possible to measure something that for all practical purposes moves at the rate of, instantaneous? Don't believe me, turn on a light bulb and try to see it go from the light to the wall.

I talk about Ole Christenson Romer who was puzzled at how a moon of Jupiter was not where it was supposed to be when it should be there and how it varied and how that variance was proportional to distance from the Earth and so in 1676 he concluded light had a constant speed.

Then we jumped to France and a man who went by Hippolyte Fizeau (cool names can get fading students to perk up) and with some mirrors came within 5% of the speed in 1849. Leon Foucault gets us within 500km/sec by adapting the experiment then an American named Michelson takes the same idea to much longer distances and gets it down to within 50km/sec by 1879. The story goes on until the final two steps in the process--- the laser and the exact distance of a meter.

Science unfolds just like our lives. It is a story of better evidence throwing out what needed tweaking. So we trust light moves fast, but a mystery is still there...

Why is it constant, if it remains in the same medium? But who knows, is it really constant? I have never measured it, but if it is not constant, that would throw astrophysicists for a spin. For now the evidence leans towards being constant.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seven On Saturday... Verdant among us

Verdant mineral:

47  37/365  Verdant Mineral... Malachite with Azurite

Verdant eyes:

what a face!

Verdant roofing:

Rock garden roof

Verdant painter's tape:

GROUT--- it takes courage

Hydroponic Verdant:

47--- 13/365   Jett's Hydroponic Lettuce

Verdant Piano:

Dale Chihuly piano

Verdant Weed:

Jimson weed bud.... datura

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fridays in PA--- Longwood Gardens

On Wednesday I put up a wordless post of one cool door. Mosaic Woman and I had gone to see an orchid celebration:

at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. The orchid room was filled, but orchids kept popping up here and there and then there was the massive hanging baskets...

I was introduced to Longwood when I was taking classes at Northampton County Community College (back in the day) when a botany class went on a field trip. Since we returned to PA, we have made several visits. We stumbled by it once to see it lit up for the holidays. I've taken students. And I have ventured their with a buddy who loves the place.

Oh, yes the mystery door. As you wind you way through the observatory one finds places for staff only. Most of the doors are nothing special. But I found the one featured on Wednesday to be quite unique. I love how they had to prune the plant to keep it from covering the handle.

Close to the room of orchids, is another of my favorite rooms--- The gray room:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crafting on Thursdays- commissions don't need to be huge and can be blue

In a recent post, a friend speaks of how she would hire me to design a rose window if she ever gets that hermitage she desires. She knows that I do smaller commissions, because she has commissioned a piece that could fly to Rome inside a suitcase--- (Mosaic Woman blogged about that).

At one point in my life I would love to design a huge installation project, but I also find joy in folk asking me to create something to their liking. At Lansdale's Art festival, a friend saw a simple 4 piece design of mine done in green. She asked MW if I could do it in blue. Last night I did it from start to finish, and in the midst of starting a school year, I needed a small task. See a design you like, I can do it in any color you want, though I may be a bit low in mauve glass these days.

I used a blue glass, which is rather opaque, so it will look cool no matter which way the light is shining...

and from behind...


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays--- The Healing Energy of Music

[Portrait of Leonard Bernstein, Benny Goodman, and Max Hollander, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC)

It has been a few or more years since my mom said... "He always listened to music."

Today I played some solo Monk for my students and as I write this six jazz CD's randomly float into my life. Sounds like it could be some David Leonhardt Trio at the moment.

It hasn't always been jazz, but if I had my choice, and I often do, music would always be flowing around me.

I used a variety of strategies to survive some medical trauma that lasted from age 5 to 21. And if music didn't heal me, it sure helped keep me sane. As for my parents who had to live through the ELO and Supertramp phase, The AC/DC and Rush phase, the Talking Heads and U2 Phase/ and the Bob Dylan Phase... God bless them. Now when they come over to my house they hear standards from the days of their youth.

And I loved to play a tune over and over. When I was thinking about this blog post this song from my early 20's came to mind...

Students ask me, "Why can't you play some rock?" I tell them that I am no longer an angry young man. I was living through a rather terrible first year of being a special education teacher listening to some God awful stories of the lives of my students. I would go home and listen to that 10,000 Maniacs song over and over.

These days that song still makes my heart ache, but I also wonder how that year, those stories, this song planted the seed to realize how a calm house and decent parents helped me survive those early days.

Benny Goodman's sextet is playing as I write this sentence. Benny's clarinet soothes, then Lionel Hampton's vibe solo flows into me and now Charlie Christian has his moment playing Stardust... and I found it!

This is my answer to a wonderful woman's question posed here and if you have made it this far, please check out her site and the video she posted. It will amaze you.

so Donna, that is my answer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Science Mondays---- trusting one's data

Maxwell's Equations

Last Monday I wrote about using NASA's cosmic times curriculum for 1919. This morning I finsihed 1919 then took a side route away from what is next... 1929. Reading up on Red Shift made it clear to me that I better teach a unit on electromagnetic radiation (light) before moving on to Hubble's findings.

Today we discussed Maxwell, who came up with equations to study how magnetism and electricity can induce each other (think coal, nuclear, hydro energy spinning huge magnets surrounded by copper wires fueling our life style).

Anyway, Maxwell's equations (see photo above) found that when one of the fields induces the other, then waves traveling at the speed of light would be created. It took him a moment or two or three before he realized that he had redefined light as electromagnetic radiation.

Last Friday in class, we spoke of Einstein and how he did not trust his data and that later he called it his greatest blunder... which led to a discussion of what we consider our greatest blunder will likely change as we get older unless we do a great blunder early on in our years.

Anyway, when Einstein plugged numbers in his Theory of General Relativity it told him the universe was far from static. But he could not wrap his mind about a universe that was growing or shrinking, so he did what any good scientist would do... add a constant to keep reality and the equation balanced. By 1929 Hubble will provide evidence for an expanding universe, but Einstein will still have some doubts. Guess he wasn't quite up to facing that blunder yet.

How are your self doubts doing these days? Beginning of school years can always make me wonder if I am capable of getting all required tasks completed ... I get to what has to be gotten and go from there.

and so much depends upon Henrietta Leavitt...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fridays in PA---- Square Peg and Capogiro in Philadelphia

Maybe this should have been called Saturday in Philly.

Saturday from 4-7pm Mosaic Woman will be on the sidewalk in front of Square Peg Artery & Salvage two blocks from Rittenhouse Square. She will be showing off and selling a variety of her mosaics in the big city.

I will be close by... Studying the cosmos for teaching next week and possibly having a snack at Capogiro Gelato...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Crafting On Thursday--- my vine design

at our etsy shop

It started this way, green. I saw it as a vine after all. It was one of my first designs and has been returned to in many ways. Maybe I love it so much because it captures my doodling style as did my mosaic mandala.

So green it is.

Someone saw a bird, in the design, so I thought... Bird-of Paradise flowers and did one in orange and blue.

Then I realized that the green vine would have to change colors, well, maybe if it was genetically crossed with a variety of maple trees, so I started making my Vine in Autumn colors ...

at Etsy

But the vine called out for some revision, so out came my favorite tools: a pencil and a high quality erasure. It grew a few inches and went from 14 to 18 pieces. I chose colors more centered around what I wanted for this piece (but added some dark green for after all it is a vine).

Maybe this is a summer vine?

At ETSY shop

A friend, who Walks With God and me most Octobers, came to a recent show and bought one of my autumn vines. She has me thinking about a winter vine. You know, a vine crossed with our marvelous Oaks that laugh at winter and keep their earth tone leaves longer than those Maples.

Apparently my vine unfolds along with me. What do you see my vine evolving into?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays--- Sunna's blessing and a question

Posting something on Twitter is a passing thought. I can put a link to a piece of our craft and within a minute 20 + folk will check it out. Then nothing. So it was quite a pleasant surprise to find a tweet from Sunna Gunnlaugs today.

I had sent a inquiry about songs folk see as blessings. And apparently Sunna has been thinking about it. Her response reminded me of an evening of live music when Mosaic Woman and I were introduced to the sacred music of Duke Ellington.

YouTube won't let me embed the video, but hopefully you are curious enough to click here.

what song is a blessing to you?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Science Mondays---- Cosmic Times by NASA has me telling stories

Last March I blogged about meeting Barbara Mattson on twitter then at the NSTA conference . So I was quite excited about that workshop but never got to it in my classroom, but maybe my desire to use the Cosmic Times website by NASA had me suggest a Earth and Space Science this year.

So I am in 1919 and scientific expeditions are headed to the tropics because during Great Wars scientists smuggled papers of Einstein from Germany to England, space and time are being warped, and it is oh so matching my teaching style.

I love to tell stories and Cosmic Times is loading me up. I stopped today and some students thought it was a cliff hanger.

I also have empathy on my mind. A student directed me to this way cool video by Jeremy Rifkin, a name I had not heard in years. I had read a book of his called Entropy back in the day. Times have not changed, Rifkin still has hope in a world that seems so chaotic. But empathy has grown to larger and larger groups, so maybe one day...

Rifkin speaks of how technology can lead us to increase empathy. A few weeks back I was having trouble with a link on the Cosmic Times website and filled out the "contact us" form. An e-mail came back from... Yes, Barbara Mattson, the only person I know at NASA. We can make connections in knew and amazing ways. The more connections we make from more and more places... maybe it is possible to have that extended empathy. I feel it stretching, do you?

The doodle above is from my silent retreat. I tell my students to feel free to view the world in many ways. So there you have a Jesuit shushed , Sophia blessed, Sunset, Moons, and Stars witnessed, and Moon Jazz listened to response... clearly it is Stratozpheric in nature

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Seven on Saturday... Gershwin

Last June we walked a good distance in some amazing heat to get to the Library of Congress to see... yes, mosaics. But we also stumbled across an exhibit about the Gershwins. This was George's piano... can you imagine...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fridays in PA---- Doylestown's Largest Festival and we will be there

This weekend an art festival is happening in the county seat of Bucks County and Nutmeg Designs is going to be there in booth 140 located on Hamilton Street.

Booth 139 is this amazing fudge dude... Lee Marino's Fudge Delight. No temptation on that side ;')

In booth 141 is a great friend of ours from the Bucks County Chapter of the PA guild of craftsmen, Cynthia K. Prediger who makes very cool jewelry and has promised to lug along this mosaic by Margaret...

Mosaic Gazing Ball Detail

Margaret will likely be wearing one of Cynthia's pendants.

Speaking of our friends at the Bucks Guild...

Booth 86... Amy Turner's ever hip weavings

Booth 85... Bernard Hohlfeld's awe inspiring wood turnings

and Dave and Mindy Spray's Creative Wood Designs by DAMI are located in booth 9.

always an honor to be in shows with such talented folk.

lots of food and music to go along with the arts and crafts. We are excited to have this major show end our outdoor season for 2010. Stop by and check us out.

Our new mandalas will be there along with starflowers of all colors and designs and a new twist on my vine design which has more pieces. I just finished it this week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Crafting on Thursdays- doodling with glass... done

It was a spiritual time with Mosaic Woman this past weekend as we both finished Mandalas...

A previous crafting on Thursday post announced that I was doodling with glass and I can say it is true, a stratozpheric mandala has unfolded into this world. Friends were over for dinner and when I showed it to them they saw my doodling within the mosaic.

This is how it looks in sunlight...

at our etsy shop

Mosaic Woman was a ton of help with giving me guidance for the technical skills I needed to complete. And while I was grouting this, she was grouting right next to me...

I have plans to do another, and maybe a third and ....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jazz on Tuesday... feeling blessed

I love the clouds...

I am feeling blessed these days. Science flowing out of my mouth at school, far less clutter interfering with living a full life inside my house (look for our e-newsletter tomorrow ... sign up ), my first mosaic mandala is finished and friends saw my essence inside it (will be featured this Thursday on the blog), and the flickr photostream of Lap75. Yep, that is one of her photos above. Please check out her photos. I always associate Lily with birds and for good reasons. Birds adore her. Even warblers stop by so she can photograph them. And any friend of warblers is a friend of mine.

But last Monday I was searching for an orange moon, and I realized that Lily also has a fine relationship with our lunar satellite. She has graciously allowed me to now post 7 of her moon photos (all those moon jazz posts which were done last week except for Tuesday's photo). I am blessed.

So feeling blessed I went to twitter and asked, "what jazz song do you see as a blessing?" I got a few responses, mostly from folk pondering it, but this guy had no problem. And now you will be blessed by his response. Thanks Fred for making this post complete. Saxophonist Charles Lloyd playing Prayer

and as a bonus, I also found the title track... The Water Is Wide.

How are you feeling blessed these days?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Science Mondays--- a plan takes shape

Tomorrow I will start another year of teaching and the last thing on my syllabus (after a threat to feed my dog any cell phone that rings) is this...

"Science and Religion: These are two different ways to view the world. It is not the responsibility of either to prove or disprove the other. This is a science class and we will keep to a scientific view of the world and not spend energy trying to disprove religious beliefs, unless those beliefs are presented as being scientific."

On Wednesday we will work our way through this video and we will see science as the way to disprove what is baloney--- whether the baloney is put out by a religion or a scientist, whose world view or desire for fame or need for funding has affected their claims.

I want the students also to have a deeper understanding of how science works beyond the "scientific method." Yes, I will teach that method, because that is what they will be tested on by the state. But on Thursday and Friday they will also learn a bit on how these folks view how science really works.

and, yes, I don't own a dog.

Moon Jazz VII

Sliver of Moon...2/17/10

and so my tribute to the night with the moon ends with an Art Tatum trio...

The Moon Is Low ...

Oh, You Crazy Moon ...

and it all ends with a simple Moon Song ...

Moon Inspiration
Moon Jazz 1
Moon Jazz 2
Moon Jazz 3
Moon Jazz 4
Moon Jazz 5
Moon Jazz 6

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Moon Jazz VI

" Morning Moon...."

Searching for Desert Moon by Sweet Sue Terry, I came up empty as I am for many of the left over moon tunes, but sometimes you find beauty as you search, and that I did... Desert On The Moon by Hiromi Uehara

Lady Day returns again tonight because It's Like Reaching For The Moon in some ways.

... and then you find exactly what you are looking for The Moon by Patricia Barber!!!!

Moon Inspiration
Moon Jazz 1
Moon Jazz 2
Moon Jazz 3
Moon Jazz 4
Moon Jazz 5
Moon Jazz 7

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moon Jazz V and a shout out to Paul Grecian

Here we go with tunes number 13, 14, and 15 as we head to 21 to honor the moon, Sophia, and jazz... and a special treat awaits those who get to the bottom of the post.

Full Moon setting...3/31/10

as we head down to the surprise keep in mind is What A Little Moonlight Can Do --- here sung by Billy Holiday

But you must get yourself Beneath the Moonlit Sky or it won't happen. Jazz violoist Stephane Grappelli... what a find this was...

And then if you are a very aware of what is In The Glow of the Moon --- Here the ten voices of Pacific Standard Time come together for a beautiful take...

In his recent blog post wildlife/nature photographer Paul Grecian catches a star with radial symmetry in the moonlight. Check out his amazing photo here. I have admired Paul's art at many a craft show and it is an honor when we are in a show with him. I like to think that Paul is a talented communicator and that his art requires it. Nature is constantly telling us to look over here, something amazing is happening.

Sometimes we catch it sometime we don't. When I browse through Paul's photography it is clear that he is one who listens closely to nature's desire to be seen and answers with his creative tools--- brain, camera, and soul. The moonbeams directed Paul and he followed. And so we are blessed when he shares his talent.

Moon Inspiration
Moon Jazz 1
Moon Jazz 2
Moon Jazz 3
Moon Jazz 4
Moon Jazz 6
Moon Jazz 7

Friday, September 3, 2010

Moon Jazz IV

Morning Moon...

Last night I mentioned getting some help with these moon tunes, and thye help continues to flow in. Sunna Gunnlaugs, a wonderful jazz pianist who I mentioned here, also recommended No Moon at All along with Polka Dots and Moonbeams, which has to be one of the coolest titles in the universe. Here is a wonderful version by Wes Montgomery...

Sunna also recommended Moon and Sand and here is Kenny Burrell eith the Gil Evans Orchestra

Both of the above tunes were on my list out there on my silent retreat being played by Marian McPartland.

Here is one that no one has recommended but the video I found keeps with the jazz guitar theme of the evening... George Van Eps and Howard Alden - play a duet on Moonglow

Moon Inspiration
Moon Jazz 1
Moon Jazz 2
Moon Jazz 3

Moon Jazz 5
Moon Jazz 6
Moon Jazz 7

Fridays in PA--- a place for silence, The Jesuit Center

As seen in during my recent time of silence at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA

a flower that greeted me upon my arrival, and yes, the name is on the tip of my tongue.

no surprise to find a mosaic in the bunch, but I am not sure who the wavy hair dude is???

waiting for the moon to rise, I went down a grassy hill and came across Mary.

Caught my eye from the hallway, so I plopped my self onto the ground a shot from a distance.

This I found in a room at the front of the center dedicated to Walter J. Ciszek S.J.

As I was gathering acorns a woman walked the path taking her to all the stations of the cross.

Where the hymns were found.

The desk upon which I doodled. I cleared a space to take a photo of the slogan of the Rochester Jazz Festival.

a lamp

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Moon Jazz III with some help

Starting of the Harvest Moon

over on Twitter I asked some help to whittle down all the moon tunes and my friend and amazing jazz drummer Scott McLemore suggested...

Keith Jarret and Charlie Haden doing No Moon at All (thank God there was that fiery moon that started this jazz tribute)

OK, so that is clearly a tune I need to add to my jazz collection, but here one that also did not seem to fit the mood of the evening. I could not find Karrin Allyson's version but here is Norwegian jazz singer Radka Toneff's version of The Moon's a Harsh Mistress

So let us end with another tune that starts a bit blue but ends up bit higher. I am loving this version of Blue Moon by Billy Eckstine

Moon Inspiration
Moon Jazz 1
Moon Jazz 2
Moon Jazz 4
Moon Jazz 5
Moon Jazz 6
Moon Jazz 7

Crafting on Thursdays- greeting the day, a testimonial

Mosaic Woman and I just had a business meeting at the local diner. She had spent some time today consulting with Tara Gentile to help us in thinking big about our growing craft business. And thus inspired to move on something we had previously chatted about, we made a list of folk who we would be honored to have write a testimonial to add to our websites.

But I was thinking, that if we expect others to believe in us then we better believe in us to, so here is my testimonial.

The other night I blogged about how a day ended and night came. However, I said nothing about how I was awed by how the previous night had ended that very morning. I don't sleep in well at home, or on retreats. Or I guess I am an early riser, so when I arose that morning, what greeted me was a dark circle and a cross hanging in the window. They could have been made out of black glass for all that it mattered. Something moved inside of me to not roll over or to hop out of bed. Instead I watched my glass come into being. The cross became full fast. Light colors that were more than willing to let light reach my eyes (photos were taken at another time, but during my retreat at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA) ...

But the mandala had other plans. And at one point 4/21 exposed itself to my eyes. Then the light green came alive as the blue slowly emerged. The dark violet came next and finally the light violet came to view. How long did it take? I can't tell you, but I knew I was witnessing a new day coming into existence and coming to me through the piece of stained glass I had made to be with me on retreat. The day was unfolding and I was being aware.

However, the 21st piece remained dark. And I knew from observing the mandala for a few days that I would have to lay still for quite a while if I wanted the day to be complete. Later that day it was full...

and that night I watched as the light that had emerged in the morning left so that soon another day could come into being. So, yes indeedy... I dig my stained glass.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Moon Jazz II

The moon the moon, so silver and cold, Her fickle temper has oft been told...

Continuing on from this point

East of The Sun and West Of The Moon : Kenny Barron and Stan Getz

Exactly where I was standing.

5... Billie Holiday sings If The Moon Turns Green, my iPod had a wonderful version by Norma Winstone.

6... How about some big band... Count Basie does Moonlight Becomes You. My version goes back to a day when Milt Jackson played with Basie's Band

Moon Inspiration
Moon Jazz 1
Moon Jazz 3
Moon Jazz 4
Moon Jazz 5
Moon Jazz 6
Moon Jazz 7