Thursday, December 31, 2015
The Last Letter From Abkhazia
7:47 pm cst
The last letter of 2015 arrived at 2pm today.
It was the only
letter in the mailbox with a nice gift.
Here it is :
Happy New Year to my friends in Abkhazia, Russia , and everybody everywhere !
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
8:44 pm cst
Bob Silver was my friend, a brother, he cared.
A tzadik, a hero to both Jewish and Christian communities.
Here is his obituary reprinted from the Commercial Appeal.
He passed away on December 23, 2015 at Baptist Memorial Hospital after battling Parkinson's disease for many years.
Bob, who was 71 years old was the husband of Judi Silver. They would have celebrated their 52nd anniversary on December
He was a member of Temple Israel. He graduated from Roxbury High School in Succasunna, New Jersey
and received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Miami and his Master's degree from Barry University in Miami.
Bob started his career in 1967 with the Jewish community in Miami and then moved to the Pittsburgh Jewish Community
Center. In 1978 he became the Associate Director of the Memphis Jewish Community Center where he started and organized the
North American Maccabbi games. He later became the Director of Jewish Family Service in Memphis where he changed many lives
with over 500 adoptions, thousands of counseling sessions, senior connection and care giving programs. He retired in December
Born in Bronx, New York on February 24, 1944, Bob was the son of the late Charles and Gwen Silver.
Besides his wife Bob is survived by three children a son, Larry (Amy) Silver of Atlanta, Georgia; a daughter, Caryn (Zumi)
Brody of Cherry Hill, New Jersey; a daughter Tami Silver of North Port, Florida; a sister, Joan Kessler of Memphis, Tennessee;
8 grandchildren and his special dog named Jake.
Services will be today, December 24, 2015 at 10 am in the Levy-Cooper
Chapel at Temple Israel Cemetery.
The family requests that any memorials be sent to the Mid-South Parkinson Foundation
– Memphis or a charity of the donor's choice .
was an angel from G-d.
רשאי לשמור כסף רוברט
בידיים שלו לנצח באהבה
Goodbye my friend.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Choer du Trinity College
12:04 pm cst
Trinity College in Cambridge will send a chill up your spine.
They're astonishing ! Listening to them makes my day.
This rare Red Seal recording will lift you out of your chair.
if you can find it.
1. Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ &
orchestra, Op. 48
2. Cantique de Jean Racine, for 4-part chorus & organ (or orchestra), Op. 11
3. Motets (4)
on Gregorian Themes, for chorus, Op.10
4. Missa "Cum Jubilo", for baritone, baritone chorus, orchestra &
organ, Op. 11
5. O sacrum convivium!, for voices, I/18
6. O Salutaris hostia, chorale prelude for organ (after Henry
7. Ave Verum, motet for soprano & alto (or 2-part female chorus) & organ, Op. 65/1
Regina, motet for 4 voices
9. Ave Maria, motet for baritone, 2 sopranos & organ in B minor, Op. 93
basse, for solo voices, chorus & organ
11. L' Enfance du Christ, oratorio for soprano, 2 tenors, baritone, 3 basses,
chorus & orchetsra ("trilo
12. Ave Maria, for voice & piano (after Bach's Prelude No. 1 from the Well-Tempered
Clavier, Book 1)
13. Panis angelicus for tenor, organ, harp, cello & bass
14. Ave Verum Corpus, motet for female
voices, FP 154
15. Salve Regina, for chorus, FP 110
16. Exultate Deo, motet for solemn occasions, for chorus, FP
17. Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël, for chorus, FP 152
18. Quatre petites prières de Saint
François d'Assise, for men's chorus, FP 142
19. Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence, for chorus, FP
It's a breezy, cool December day in Memphis.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
8:49 am cst
Hell's Angels are legendary.
They protect the weak when they have to, raise money for charity and commit
many of their activities to community service projects which assist the poor.
benefitted families in need throughout the world with their sympathy and generosity which, sadly, is rarely recognized.
But make no mistake about it, they'll get mean if they're offended.
true that some of their members have been convicted of serious crimes, including murder.
like to say, "When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets."
they're an important part of the history of this nation, the good and the bad, like the sweet with the sour.
Good or bad, nonetheless, I believe that they should be represented on an American postage stamp.
Besides, Hell's Angels would be the first "outlaws" ever represented on a United States postage
And they just so happen to possess a redemptive measure of good !
setting, I hope the United States Postal Service creates this stamp or one like it.
it to Sonny Barger. I hope he likes it.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
The Blue Angels
6:35 pm cst
I've always been proud of the Blue Angels.
They represent our
country, the Marines and the Navy.
They were founded by Butch Voris July 21, 1946.
I created a fantasy stamp in their honor.
the United States Postal Service will make the real thing.
It's about time.
Friday, December 25, 2015
4:45 pm cst
Bear Bryant played his last football game in Memphis on December 29, 1982. I stood on the field with
him that day. My cousin, Alan (now a pediatrician) was the drum major for the Alabama marching band.
was dead four weeks later on January 26, 1983.
I found this in a box of stamps I bought
from a retired postmaster in mid-August of this year. The four stamps on the cover commemorate the 100th anniversary of intercollegiate
football and were issued in 1969. "Bear" signed it for the National Association of Postmasters of the United
States convention in Eufaula, Alabama on May 18, 1980.
didn't know that I had it until today.
It's very rare and a remarkable piece of postal
No others have been located.
In an arm's
length transaction it's worth $2000 dollars, and very possibly much more at auction.
not for sale.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Star Wars : The Force Awakens (The Force Should Go Back to Sleep)
12:27 am cst
If you're over the age of 9 hide your face when you leave the theater.
don't want anyone to recognize you. The clichéd movie is a two hour migraine headache.
hope the Force goes back to sleep and never wakes up again after wasting money on this obnoxious, stupid film. I couldn't
wait to leave the theater. I ended up having more fun at home making beignets and watching the
It looks like a Halloween Party with cheap computer animation. Save your money !
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Memphis Is Too Warm for Santa
7:42 am cst
The temperature's close to 70 degrees and'll push close to 80 over the next couple of days. Santa's
reindeer were heard panting from the Memphis heat while hovering over the city, so Santa decided to hang out on Beale Street
till things let up.
Monday, December 21, 2015
11:12 pm cst
A rat infested, cockroach motel that operated as a butcher shop at Southern and Highland for years
was finally demolished.
The university wanted that scum plagued pile of garbage shut down,
and so did the health department and all of the neighbors.
Here's a squalid reminder
of what's left of that crap hole....good riddance !
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Lunch at the Arcade
2:42 pm cst
There's no diner in the world like the Arcade ! I've been eating there since I came into the world.
The great Danny Honnold stopped by. We headed downtown for a great lunch and a nice visit with my friend and Arcade Restaurtant owner Harry Zapatos.
There's an old upright piano in the dining room and I managed to work in a few holiday songs for the nice crowd.
The food is fabulous at the Arcade. It's the "diner to the stars" !
you're in Memphis put the Arcade Restaurant at the top of your "absolutely must visit" list !
Saturday, December 19, 2015
11:13 am cst
Friday, December 18, 2015
Handel, Poulenc, Libertas Choir, Beethoven & Honegger
5:35 pm cst
George F.Handel's 1707 work Dixit Dominus (The Lord Said) based on Psalm 110 began my day. The work has been performed in hebrew but usually performed in Latin.
Now comes Francis Poulenc, Les Mamelles De Tiresia.
Les mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tiresias) is a prologue and two acts based on the play of the same title by Guillaume Apollinaire.
The opera was written in 1945 and first performed in 1947.
Thérèse tires of her life as a submissive woman and becomes
the male Tirésias when her breasts turn into balloons and she floats away. Her husband is ticked off by this, and
even more so when she ties him up and dresses him as a woman.
Now for Herbert Von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic with Beethoven's 9th Symphony and his first recording of this work in 1947. It's fantastic !
The Libertas Choir, from South Africa, will raise your spirits. The day brightened up nicely with Libertas under the direction of Johan de Villiers, a professor of mathematics at the University of Stellenbosch who also happens to be an outstanding choral conductor.
Finally, Arthur Honegger to end my Friday afternoon with his Pacific 231, Rugby, Pastorale d'ete' and Une Cantate de Noel (a Christmas Carol)
Art Honegger was a Swiss composer, who was born in France and lived most of his
life in Paris
What a great life ! Why would I let anything spoil the music ? God is good
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Mozart & Gounod
5:31 am cst
Two operas define the early morning hours in the House of Saks.
The Magic Flute
& Gounod's Mireille
The Mozart recording is from 1964 with Fritz Wunderlich as Tamino and Evelyn Lear as Pamina with
the Berlin Philharmonic and director Karl Bohm.
The Gounod recording is from 1954 with
Janette Vivalda as Mireille and Nicolai Gedda as Vincent with the Orchestra de la Societe'des Concerts du Conservatoire conducted
by Andre' Cluytens.
Both works astounding. Click either photo for the wikis.
Off to Starbucks to meet a friend for coffee.
Monday, December 14, 2015
1:40 am cst
Louise, by composer Gustave' Charpentier is a beautiful love story about the relationship between an artist and a seamstress who lives with her parents in Paris.
Louise premiered on 2 February 1900 at the Opéra-Comique conducted by André Messager in a production by Albert Carré.
Synopsis (from the Wiki)
The Parisian home of
Louise has fallen in love with her
neighbor, Julien. At the opening of the opera, they recall how they met. Louise's mother interrupts them and vocally expresses
her disapproval of Julien. The exhausted father comes home from work and his wife and daughter implore him to quit the taxing
job. However, he feels that it is his responsibility to provide for his family. At supper, he reads a letter that Julien
left in which he proposed marriage to Louise. He is indifferent, but the mother is livid and, when Louise stands up for
Julien, she slaps Louise across the face. The peaceful father asks his daughter to sit with him and read the paper. As she
reads about springtime in Paris, she breaks down and cries.
Scene 1: A street in
It begins with a prelude that suggests dawn in
Paris. The curtain rises to a bustling scene where people go about their daily routines and comment about life in general.
The Noctambulist enters and calls himself the spirit of the Pleasure of Paris, and then leaves with the daughter of a ragman.
Julien appears with a group of fellow bohemians to show them where Louise works. He tells them that if her parents do not
consent to marriage, he will carry the girl off. Julien and his companions go off and he sings that the medley of sounds
around him is the voice of Paris itself. Louise and her Mother arrive at the dressmaking store where Louise works (her mother
brings her to work everyday). When the mother leaves, Julien returns. Louise tells him she loves him, but she loves her
parents too much to leave them. He tries to persuade her to run off with him and she finally agrees to do so soon.
Scene 2: Inside Louise's place of work
Louise is being teased by the other seamstresses for being in love. A band is heard outside
and Julien sings a serenade. The girls admire him for his looks and voice. Louise quietly slips away – to run off with
A cottage overlooking Paris
The act opens with the opera's most well known aria, "Depuis le jour"; the lovers have moved into
a cottage overlooking Paris and in the aria she sings of her happiness with her new existence and with her lover. A long
love duet ensues in which they sing of their love for each other and Paris. Many Bohemians enter and crown Louise Queen of
Montmartre. The Noctambulist presides as the King of the Fools. Louise's mother appears and the festivities end. She tells Louise
of her father's illness and that her father creeps into Louise's room in the middle of the night, even though they agreed
to regard her as dead. Even Julien is moved, and he lets Louise leave on the promise she will return whenever she wishes.
The Parisian home of Louise's parents
The father has regained his health and spirits. He is working again, but has come to accept poverty in a
philosophical way. His recovery can be attributed to the return of Louise, whom he takes into his arms and sings a lullaby.
She is not comforted and longs to be with Julien again. A merry waltz is heard outside and Louise takes it up, singing madly
of love and freedom. Her parents are shocked and her father becomes increasingly angry. He shouts at Louise and demands
that she leave; if that is what she wants, let her go and dance and laugh! He begins to attack her, but the mother stands
in the way. Louise runs from the room to go back to Julien. Only then does the father realise what he did. "Louise,
Louise!" he calls. She is gone and in despair he shakes his fist at the city that stole his daughter, "Paris!"
he moans and the opera closes.
Here's the opera in it's entirety for you:
The freedom to love is what the composer believed that you must understand.
I begin this day listening to Louise.
Sunday, December 13, 2015
11:27 pm cst
Listened to Massenet's opera Herodiade today. Another take on the story of Salome and John the Baptist but the wife of Herod the protagonist. Recorded in Paris
in 1974, gargantuan orchestral and choral movements are provided by the Choers et Orchestre Lyrique de Raio-France under the
direction of David Lloyd Jones. Sopranos, Muriel De Channes who portrays Salome, and Nadine Denise (in the pic), Herodiade,
nail it !
Synopsis ACT I
Outside Herod's palace in Jerusalem, a dispute
between merchants of different sects is broken up by Phanuel. Phanuel meets Salome, who has come to Jerusalem to find her
mother; instead she had met, and fallen in love with, John the Baptist. As Phanuel and Salome leave, Herod, who is in love
with Salome, enters. His wife, Herodiade, follows him, demanding that John be punished for insulting her. Herod knows that
John is popular and tries to deter her; as they argue, John himself enters and again insults Herodiade; she and Herod flee,
and Salome enters. She offers herself to John, but he rejects her and advises her to seek a more spiritual love.
In Herod's palace, Phanuel tries to convince
Herod to forget about Salome, with whom he is obsessed. The two of them plan revolution, but Phanuel disagrees with Herod's
plan of killing John and other holy men; he thinks they will only become martyrs. In front of his palace gates, Herod is
rallying his people to revolution, but the rally is interrupted by the arrival of Vitellus, the Roman proconsul, and his soldiers.
Vitellus appeases the mob by allowing the High Priest to return to the Temple of Israel. John enters, accompanied by Salome,
and Vitellus, alarmed by his popularity, has the prophet arrested.
Herodiade comes to Phanuel's house to seek his help in revenging herself on her husband's rival.
Examining the stars, he tells the queen that only her daughter can help her. When he tells her her daughter is Salome, however,
she denies it; Phanuel sends her away. In the temple, Salome again declares her love for John and her wish to die with him.
Herod plans to save John to foment rebellion among the Jews; entering, he sees Salome and declares his love for her. She
rejects him, and he threatens to kill both her and her rival. The people gather for worship; the hierarchs of the temple
appeal to Vitellus to condemn John for his heresy; Vitellus passes the task to Herod, as John is a Galilean. Herod questions
John and is about to save him, thinking the prophet will further his plans for freedom, when Salome reveals that she loves
him. Herod, enraged, condemns them both; they are seized by the temple guards.
John is praying in his cell, saying that he is not afraid to die, but he
is haunted by thoughts of Salome. She enters, and they declare their love for each other. John tells Salome to save herself,
but she is determined to die with him. However, the guards take John away to be killed and drag Salome off to the palace,
where Herod and Vitellus are holding court. Salome begs Herod and Herodiade for John's life; just as Herod is about to give
in to her, the executioner carries in his bloody sword, indicating that John has already been killed. Salome draws a dagger
and tries to kill Herodiade, but the queen tells her she is her mother; in despair, Salome kills herself instead.
Enjoy it ! It's a mind blower !
Here's a link on to the entire opera on
The unbelievable Montserrat Caballe', one of Freddy Mercury's best friends, is Salome.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Music & The Test Bench
7:06 am cst
Along with the great music of Montserrat Caballe and Lawrence Tibbett (who George Gershwin thought
was one of the best singers in the world) comes another morning of tinkering with hobby electronics. I've been programming
a high-powered communications device for use with land and aviation communications. Getting everything set is a grind and
amounts to more trial and error than frustration. The patience paid off and now I can think about going for a run, or at least
a couple of miles on the treadmill.
I trashed a cd player after discovering that the stackable
rack inside of the unit was warped and chewing up good music.
Had a peanut butter
and honey sandwich on wheat bread a few minutes ago while watching the first light of the new day.
like another warm day in Memphis.
Here's the happy face of my best friend !
Friday, December 11, 2015
Happy Birthday, Son !
1:46 am cst
Today is my son's birthday !
Here are a couple of pictures of
my son, of whom I'm very proud of,
with his gorgeous wife, my daughter-in-law, Ann Marie,
and my adorable, beautiful grandchildren.
I love them
very, very much !
Happy Birthday, Dennis !
Your Dad !
Thursday, December 10, 2015
5:39 am cst
Fine morning ! Very peaceful. Having coffee and watching the great film "Pawn Sacrifice"
with Toby Maguire. He's a convincing Bobby Fischer and portrays the man I remember Fischer to have been as brilliant but tragically
psychotic. I remember when Fischer came to Memphis to play a simultaneous match at the Fairgrounds against a couple of dozen
chess players. I think only one man pulled a draw against Fischer.
Fischer beat everyone
else effortlessly. I was there that day with my dog.
I can't exactly remember, but I believe
that Bobby was between 18 and 19 years old then and was the new United States champion or National Junior Chess Champion.
Maybe 1961 or so. I was around 9 or 10 years old then.
felt sorry for Bobby when he died.
I felt sorry for him before he died.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Welcome to David's Blog !
5:39 am cst
The blog is new. It's early morning. How about you ?