Friday, June 27, 2008

My Ode to Bill Gates & Windows

Bill Gates may be signing off at Microsoft, but he'll never be forgotten... at least not by me. I've heard so many wonderful things about him over the years - especially how he treated his employees, never forgetting those who helped him up the ladder of success. That's rare. I applaud him and pay tribute to him here in my blog for giving me the opportunity to be a successful businessperson by creating wonderful tools that have changed our culture immeasurably. Thanks, Bill! Here is my ode to Windows...


Oh, how I love Windows! Each day when I awaken, I thank God Bill Gates was born to invent the windows that speed my day along. Windows set me free - I can open and close them, minimize and reduce them, widen them, fill them, empty them, and more... They're windows on the world, to peer into the Net; research, learn, imagine, expound, earn a living, communicate, play... My Windows allow me to smile, talk, write, laugh, express myself, create sites to exhibit my art - like no gallery could ever do for me. I can open a window and hear a song; and my Windows let me play my songs for others. My Windows open up the Net so I can play Canasta with a guy in Brazil or a girl in Australia, or check out my sister's photography in Charleston, or see my friend's garden in Chicago, or I can walk through my Mom's online gallery to view her latest oil painting. My Windows make me what I am. I open a window and a new template, create a press release and in ten minutes a thousand producers across the nation know all about my clients. They open a window, see my message, e-mail me, call me -- and lives are changed. People are heard. It's a ripple effect. Windows, when clean, illuminate, educate, create, relate... create debate.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Living in the Here and Now

WATCH... Follow your dreams! Live spontaneously for the HERE and NOW.

Dave and Jaja Martin spent seven years sailing around the world aboard their 25-foot boat. Dave purchased the boat in 1985, gutted her to a bare hull, and then went to work beefing up the structure. He glassed in stringers, added keel floors and extra bulkheads, and then re-designed and re-built the interior. "I built a new rudder, re-stayed the mast, built a smaller cockpit, and then christened her with a bottle of warm Bud in an effort to get the mood right for the intended circumnavigation" is the way Dave puts it. He met Jaja shortly after starting his cruise in St. John and they finally got together in the UK. They were both 25 when they left England on their circumnavigation. From England they headed West to the Caribbean, via the Cape Verde Islands. They were married in Barbados, then transited the Panama Canal, visited the Galapagos; and did the usual trip through the South Pacific, spending several seasons in Australia, New Zealand, and the nearby cruising paradise to the north. A trip through the Torres Straits, Indonesia, and then across the Indian Ocean had them rounding South Africa before arriving back in the Caribbean and then the States in 1995. Along the way they had two children and then a third was born at the end of the voyage. The Martin family set sail again in 1997 on their 33-footer and have spent time in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Iceland, the Faroes, Northern Scotland, Norway, Greenland, and Newfoundland. [more...]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Music Touching My Soul

I listen to all kinds of music and keep my mind open to the many wonderful ways in which artists express themselves musically. However, I haven't been moved to tears by a song in quite some time. But it's happened twice in the past week... and, boy, did it feel good!

Talk to Me, in which the wonderful actor Don Cheadle plays Washington, D.C. radio personality Ralph "Petey" Greene, an ex-con who became a popular talk show host and community activist in the '60s is an excellent bio-drama. The scene just after MLK's death where you hear Sam Cooke's 'A Change is Gonna Come' wafting over the airwaves, soothing the pain of the masses, is so glorious, it makes you want to stand up and shout to the mountaintops! I loved all the Sly & the Family Stone songs and the great version of 'Tainted Love' by Gloria Jones. The soundtrack, however, is lacking, so it takes a little research to find all the songs that were in the film, but it's well worth the effort.

Once, is described as the story of "a serendipitous meeting on the streets of Dublin between a down-on-his-luck Irish street performer and a poor Czech immigrant which sparks a bond that plays out in this modern day music film. 'Once' follows the two as they write, rehearse, and record the songs that reveal their unique love story." It sure brought back memories of my songwriting days and the thrill of recording in a studio. I knew just how they felt - the magic, the harmonies, the great sense of exhilaration and accomplishment to have unleashed a spark of light from the music touching my soul.

This movie is so poignant and sweet a romance; and the songs are soul-stirring and intense featuring the wonderful talents of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová placed front and center as the characters of the 'boy' and 'girl.' Listen to the soundtrack. I cried during the scene where they were recording 'When Your Mind's Made Up' when the engineer smiled, as he realized this motley bunch of street urchins had just created magic. The first time the boy and girl collaborate in the music store ('Falling Slowly') is so real and true... and when the girl is walking down the street listening to his CD demo, crafting the lyrics to 'If You Want Me' reminded me of a hundred times that I'd written songs at odd moments when the muse inspired. ...made me want to hear all that Czech Republic-born Markéta Irglová and Frames frontman Glen Hansard ever create.