Thursday, September 30, 2010

Top 10 Misconceptions about Blind People

David W. Wannop is a music journalist, talent developer, booking agent, and show host based in Center City Philadelphia.

Misconceptions of blind people are vast, contradictory, and are derived mostly from a mix of unfamiliarity with blind people and the belief that to experience blindness all one needs to do is close your eyes. Here is a list of those misconceptions and how they manifest.

1. Blind people have superior hearing. Not true. We will learn to concentrate, discern and derive a lot of meaning from sound, and make use of it in innovative ways. We are not distracted by sight, but, this is listening qua paying attention. On a straight up listening test, blind people hear at a normal level. I work in the concert biz so my hearing is probably at the low end of normal now.

2. Blind people need to be spoken to very loudly or they won’t know you are addressing them. Actually, I ignore loud speaking people for I find them rude and vulgar. More likely I am ignoring the loud mouth. Introduce yourself properly and speak with a normal tone. How is it that sighted people think I can hear a pin drop in the next town but can’t hear someone right in my face?

3. Most blind people are totally blind. Actually, the definition of legal blindness covers a range of conditions. Some have tunnel vision, others peripheral. Some can read large print. Others have focusing difficulties. Most blind people are not completely without sight. I have light perception. I often look away from bright light. I can make out no color, shape, or detail, nor depth. I can tell when the sun is shining or a light bulb has blown.

4. All blind people read Braille. Today illiteracy is a problem in the blindness community. Two factors contribute; one is the fact that many children who can see large print become increasingly blind with age, yet they are often resistant to learning Braille and a competent tutor may not be readily available. Secondly, audio books, talking books, and other methods, encourage the blind to listen instead of read. The problem here is how the brain processes the information and the level of reinforcement one gets relating to spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Many blind people are highly functional illiterates. Then again, many blind people are scholars too.

5. Most blind people go to private special schools. Mainstreaming has been the rule since the seventies. Blind people are also involved in college campus life. Scholarships are available to qualified blind candidates. Schools for the blind are still in existence too.

6. When speaking to a blind person figurative speech must not be used. Untrue; I use terms such as I see your point, or let’s see if we can figure this out. Figurative usage of words such as see, view, and look, have little to do with actual vision.

7. Most blind people are magical or crazy. The blind employ simple, subtle, and clever techniques for getting jobs accomplished. They may be a sense of organization, applying tools to a task, or rendering their other senses to bypass a visual element. I use smell, timing, and sound, plus passed experience, along with texture when I cook for example. So, my food comes out the way I like it even though I cannot see it. There is a perception that blind people accomplish things through a sort of amazing magic. The mundane is more like it. The other extreme is the opinion that if one closes their eyes, and cannot cook, therefore, no blind person can cook. The fact is that sighted people do not know the techniques for cooking without seeing, nor any other blindness strategy. Blindness is the sum of knowledge and practice. I’ll put my experience of being blind for decades against anyone who simply closes their eyes and tries a general task.

8. All blind people love music and play it and appreciate it well. I work in talent development, booking, and other related musical fields. I don’t actually play. I have rejected blind clients for the same quality reasons that I reject sighted clients. Further more, I have met blind music fans that were into metal, country, opera, and not into music at all. Like all other aspects, blindness is a characteristic and not a complete definer. So, figure that a blind person is most likely statistically similar to other people.

9. Counting steps is an effective tool for safe traveling. Well, if I am carrying a heavy backpack, or if I am walking with a bruised ankle, or if I stop to talk to a friend, then where am I if I am counting steps? I walk a mile or so to the Italian Market. How many steps is that? What about detours? Counting steps is ridiculous. That’s like finding your friends house by estimating how many times your wheels turned on the drive over there. Landmarks are the way. I count streets, I remember various attributes such as trees, driveways, curbside benches, and alike, but counting steps doesn’t work after ten paces or so. Anyone who has ever tried to find buried treasure knows that.

10. Guide dogs know a million locations and can take thousands of commands. For the most part, a guide dog only knows four to six commands that the average dog doesn’t know. Forward, left, right, stop, are among them. You don’t tell the dog take me to the theatre and he simply takes you there. The blind person needs to navigate. Leave things up to the dog and you’ll never discover the world passed the nearest fire hydrant. By the way, cane travelers are far more likely to be employed, plus it is easier to take care of them, and more sanitary. I don’t allow guide dogs into my apartment. Fraulein Feline wouldn’t like that.

Extra and very important.
Most blind people are looking for a cure. For working age blind people, the vast majority do not disparage their blindness. It is a part of their identity just as being Black, Canadian, or a military officer can be a major part of identity. They would like to be treated better, and most of them would like to put a dent into the %75 unemployment/under-employment statistic, which plagues our ranks. Many personnel directors and human resources staffers will not recommend a blind job candidate even if the references, education, and experience are stellar. Issues that fall between government, social work, consumer advocacy, education, and business are often dealt with by the National Federation of the Blind. Skills training, employment and job readiness, and other factors are a chief concern of this organization. WWW.NFB.ORG Tel. 1410.659-9314 for more information about anything brought up on this list. The local phone for National Federation of the Blind PA Affiliate plus Chapters in the Del. Val. is 215.988-0888.

During the 1990's, Through the National Federation of the Blind, I participated in several seminars involving members of Congress and their assistants. The Washington Seminar had us speaking about blindness and Social Security and how we could use Soc. Sec. to ease the transition into work. We concentrated on creating incentives to business and blind people to get more involved with viable employment without the immediate loss of all SSDI benefits..

Additionally, we worked to create a more efficient method for producing Braille books using the electronic publisher master to drive Braille printers. Congress helped to create guidelines for publishers to submit such electronic master files to the Library of Congress in order to make such adaptive versions of books. This production is faster and less expensive than the hand copying method of the past.

We worked to allow more parents of blind children to address the medium in which their blind children were being instructed. All though many kids can read large print, they can only do so slowly, or at the risk of severe eye strain. Many who test for large print will lose more vision and thus they need Braille instruction en lieu of print. Braille for them is faster and allows them to keep up with other students.

Sometimes, we would be in large meetings. At others, small teams would go from office to office engaging staffers and speaking with the occasional member of congress. In 2008, legislation was introduced to create a Louis Braille coin. They needed 2/3 of congress to pass the resolution to have the coin ready by 2009. Pennsylvania was the largest state to have all 19 house members and both senators co/sponsor the bill. It was a rare moment of cooperation across party and ideological lines. Everyone thought Braille and an improved public opinion of blind American citizens was that important.

This list was written exclusively by David W. Wannop a music journalist, talent developer, booking agent, and show host based in Center City Philadelphia. I am hoping that David at some point in the future will share and grace with me his vast experience in the musical world. He has many fascinating stories to tell. To me he exemplifies wit and wisdom and it has been my pleasure to hear his insight when he speaks. He sees the world a lot clearer then I do.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Top 10 Happenings In Nether Providence Township

1. Saturday, September 25, 2010: was NATIONAL TAKE-BACK INITIATIVE. You were able to bring your old, expired and unneeded prescription medications to the township building for safe disposal at the police department between the hours of 9am and 1pm. No questions asked!!!! This is a particularly important safety initiative for families with children and the elderly. It also protects our teenagers, which is the age group experiencing a huge increase in addiction to pain medication. If you missed this event an alternative and safe way to dispose of medications that are out of date can be found by following this FDA link. Flushing down the toilet or the drain does pose a threat to the environment.

2. Garden City Golf Outing at Springhaven CC on Monday, October 18. Please support your fire company for a fun fill day. Go to the township website for more information. (click on "Township Notices") October is also Fire Prevention Month.

3. 5K First Responders Race in Nether Providence Twp on Saturday October 16. Sign up early.

4. Leaf mulch available at the public works yard on Brookhaven Rd. We drive by all the time. This is a catch it when you can opportunity.

5. The Thomas Leiper Historic House in Nether Providence Township is open for tours on Saturday and Sunday from 1- 4 PM.

6. Nether Providence Twp history books now available at your local book store, (i.e. Borders). Retails for $22. Learn about the rich heritage of Nether Providence Twp.

7. The Community Art Center (CAC) is currently displaying the BRAD HOWE collection in the Duke Gallery until October 15, 2010. The CAC also sponsors various Art-Themed bus trips throughout the year, with two upcoming trips to the Frick Collection in New York on October 21 and Nemours Mansion and Gardens and the Griggs Museum of American Art in Dover, DE on December 1st, 2010. Go to for more information.

8. Strath Haven Football is still a draw for area residents. Come out and support the team and see a spectacular half time show from the Strath Haven High School Marching Band.

9. Budget meetings have begun, every Thursday night at 7pm at the township building, except for Sept 30 and Thanksgiving. Open to the public. If you have a question and want to get involved in your community, come out and attend the meetings.

10. Township Commissioners encourage residents to contact them with any questions or concerns. Their email addresses can be found at this link Nether Providence Commissioners email . The township also offers a great website full of information.

We are fortunate to live in an area that is rich in historical value and community awareness. There are additional blogs at that highlight some of the other towns in Delaware County check them out. If you do not see your town and would like to offer information, I would be delighted to highlight your pride. Just send an email to

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top 10 The Eels After the Concert

1. The Eels opened their US concert tour at WXPN and World Café in downtown Philadelphia, September 22nd on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

2. It was my first time to that venue so I’m not sure if this is the norm. The concert was scheduled to begin at 8PM. A ventriloquist, John Pizzi came on at approximately 8:45pm and he was really funny, helped the agitation of the late start. He picked on the dumb blonde front and center of the stage. The blonde took it well and probably got the best pictures of the evening, not so dumb.

3. Jesca Hoop was the opening musical act maybe another 20 minutes later. She was an interesting girl with an amazing voice range and the personal song Angel Mom that she wrote about her mother and her battle with cancer and refusal to go the route of chemo was very touching. The crowd mumbling in the background as she sang was most disturbing and disrespectful. I later read that she was discovered by Tom Waits, she was his nanny.

4. Going in, I knew one song by the Eels, “I’m Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn’t Break Your Heart”. It was recently passed to me by one of my family members. They played this song on one of their three encores, so I was pleased.

5. This band is all over the place, multi-talented from singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett, The Chet (steel guitar), new member P-Boo (guitar), Koool G Murder (bass) and drummer Knuckles. Their songs take you on an emotion roller coaster in a good way. You feel the high’s and lows.

6. Mark Oliver Everett is a fan of summer and so am I. They did a great cover of "Summer in the City" and "Summertime" and “the livin is easy”.

7. Since I am a newbie to the Eels I decided to check into the band further and discovered where some of Mark Everett’s song ideas come from.

8. On the Eels website you can read a little about his father who was a brilliant scientist who committed suicide and was posthumously honored for his work, his older sister who introduced him into the world of music by always playing Neil Young After the Gold Rush also committed suicide and his mother past away from lung cancer. Read his story on the website.

9. I’m always fascinated by singer/songwriters and their amazing gifts of relaying a message and how many of their own personal experiences come through, as therapy to them and others, I suppose. It is one of the reasons why I promote musicians on Fridays. Merchandise was on sale as is typical for all concerts and Jesca Hoop was available and selling her CD after her set. The music industry has changed but musician’s still remain hard working people.

10. As far as my total experience at the WXPN and World Café, it’s a great space to intimately see a recording artist. I was glad to find a new to me place to enjoy music and I will revisit.

Check out both Jesca Hoop and the Eels music. They have some great lyrics.

3 Free MP3 downloads plus new tour dates.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 10 Clearing Out and Getting Organized

1. Electronic devices. If you can’t reuse, repair or refurbish you can recycle it through the following sources this link applies to cell phones.

2. Donating a computer that is still working and useful will keep it out of a landfill and frees up space in your own home.

3. Used college text books you may have missed the boat for this semester but there is plenty of time to prepare for the next. There are too many sites to list just search “selling used text books”.

4. Garage sales the weather is getting better for sitting outside on a beautiful day and selling your unwanted wares. One man’s trash is another’s treasure.

5. I believe you must have a Yahoo account (it’s free) to be a member. There are all kinds of good offers in there and it’s free!! You can also post a want.

6. Junk mail lists there are a few options here so I am including linked instructions from

7. Donate blankets and towels to animal shelters.

8. Clothing can be donated to Goodwill, Purple Heart and American Family, there are also consignment shops that you can look into if you feel you have clothing of higher value.

9. Books, DVDs, old VHS tapes and cassettes. Check with your local library, hospitals and senior citizen homes. You can also buy paperback and hardback books really cheap at most local libraries.

10. Tips for getting organized. Gather like items. You get three choices. Donate, keep and undecided. Keep the undecided for the next round. If you haven’t used it in a year or two time to move it on.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Top 10 "Fall" Songs

1. Fall in Philadelphia Diane Birch and Daryl Hall
2. Country Road James Taylor
3. True Colors Cyndi Lauper
4. Autumn Leaves Nat King Cole
5. Freefalling Tom Petty
6. Falling in Love in a Coffee Shop Landon Pigg
7. First to Fall Laura Shay
8. Fallen Sarah McLachlain
9. Fall Away Fray
10. Be My Downfall Tonight Del Amitri

As always my recommendations support the artist! Download and pay for their work.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Top 10 Coming this Fall to Celebrate

1. Super Harvest Moon begins at 5:17AM today September 23rd in the Philadelphia area. The visual effects last 3 nights September 22, 23 and 24.

2. Change of Seasons, Colors changing on the trees.

3. Pee-Wee, Elementary, Middle and High School, College and the Pros, Football.

4. Soccer practice and games.

5. Flashing school zone signs.

6. Pick your own apples locally. Candy apples, caramel and the sticky red ones

7. A break in utility bills. A/C off and windows open.

8. Carve a Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie and giving thanks.

9. Cooler mornings and evenings. Wardrobe change.

10. Halloween trick or treating, costume choosing. Chocolate in the house!

Spring forward, fall back and relax!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Top 10 Curious about George

1. George Washington was the first President of the United States. General Washington led the victory against Britain in the American Revolution. He was a rebel with a cause. Washington's “Farewell Address” speaks on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. He was awarded the first Congressional Gold Medal with the Thanks of Congress in 1776. His farewell address is lengthy and many will not take the time to read it but it is most compelling. He is considered the greatest President the United States ever had.

2. George Washington Carver was an American scientist, botanist, inventor and teacher. Carver’s parents were slaves. He is believed to have been born before slavery was officially abolished. The records are unclear. His father was killed when he was very young by an accident and he and his mother were kidnapped. He was returned to the Carvers. Mrs. Carver taught him to read and write. He was known for his work with peanuts. He made over 300 products from peanuts but only applied for 3 patents on products dealing with paint. In the 1920’s he worked for the Commission on Inter-Racial Co-operation to improve race relations and the YMCA. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed him the “Black Leonardo”, a reference in comparison to Leonardo DaVinci. He was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts of London, received the Springarn Medal for distinguished service from the NAACP, and the Theodore Roosevelt Medal for valuable contributions to science. Upon his death in 1943, he donated his life savings to Tuskegee Institute, the money was used to establish the George Washington Carver Research Foundation.

3. George H. W. Bush 41st President of the United States He was the youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings; he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot, he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action. Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China, and Director of the CIA. His military career is detailed in the book The Fly Boys by James Bradley and the movie came out in 2008.

4. George W. Bush was the 43rd President of the United States He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968 and then served as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. After working on his father’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign, President Bush assembled a group of partners that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. He was President of the United States when terrorists attacked The Twin Towers and the Pentagon. How would you like to be the guy that was in charge that day and the aftermath? I remember seeing his dumbfounded face as he sat in that kindergarten classroom. I think mine may have been similar. I have not seen the Oliver Stone movie “W” about his life but it is on my list.

5. George Burns was an American actor, comedian and writer. He originally began his career in vaudeville, then radio, television and film. Burns partnered and later married Gracie Allen, the love of his life. He once confided to long time friend Jack Benny that he had a brief affair after having an argument with Allen over a silver centerpiece. Allen overheard the conversation. The centerpiece was purchased and the affair was never mentioned again. Many years later Allen told a friend about the episode and said, "You know, I really wish George would cheat on me again. I could use a new centerpiece”. The pair had two adopted children Sandy and Ronnie. Allen died at the age of 69 and Burns continued to visit her grave once a month to ask for guidance. In September 1984, he appeared on the cover of Penthouse magazine, the issue which contained the infamous nude photos of former Miss America Vanessa Williams. The cigar smoking Burns lived to be 100 years old. Most memorable role in movies, he played God.

6. George Harrison was an English rock guitarist, singer song-writer and film producer. Harrison is listed as #21 in Rolling Stones Greatest Guitarist of All Time. He helped organize a major charity concert in 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, and is the only Beatle to have published an autobiography, with I Me Mine in 1980. Besides being a musician, he was also a record producer and co-founder of the production company HandMade Films. He was married twice, to model Pattie Boyd in 1966, and to A&M record company secretary Olivia Trinidad Arias in 1978, they have one son, Dhani Harrison. He was a close friend of Eric Clapton who also at one time was married to Boyd. Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001. As, reported in Rolling Stone Magazine, American film director Martin Scorsese has announced that he has completed a George Harrison documentary titled Living in the Material World: George Harrison in hopes of a 2011 release.

7. George Clooney eye candy is the first description that comes to mind but he is far more then another pretty face. He is an American actor, director, producer screen writer and social activist. Clooney's humanitarian work includes his advocacy of finding a resolution for the Darfur conflict, raising funds for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2004 Tsunami and 9/11 victims, and creating documentaries such as Sand and Sorrow to raise awareness about international crises. He has also served as one of the United Nations Messengers for Peace since 2008. George was awarded the Humanitarian Award at the 2010 Emmy Awards. During his acceptance speech, he spoke of the people that still remain active long after the popularity has gone down. "We live in such strange times where bad behavior sucks up all the attention and the press,” George Clooney said. My favorite film of his was Syriana; he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. George Clooney does not Twitter or have his own website. That just attracts me even more. His latest call to help in Sudan.

8. George Carlin was an American comedian, social critic, actor and author who won 5 Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. He placed 2nd on the Comedy central list of 100 greatest comedians. He was the first host of Saturday Night Live. There are of course, his famous “7 Words you can’t say on television”. That has since changed. Carlin said, “Those are the ones that'll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war”. Channel surf any time of day and you will be able to find these words. “Last Words” an autobiography written by George Carlin with Tony Hendra tells his story and of his tax problems.

9. George Steinbrenner was the principal owner of The New York Yankees. He earned the nickname “The Boss” for his hands-on management of the team. Known for his hiring, firing and sometimes re-hiring of staff. He won the NCAA Flying Wedge Award and his personality appeared on The Seinfeld Show, yet he never appeared in person. He had been asked to do a cameo appearance but he declined. He passed away in July 2010, the day of the 81st All-Star Game where much of the discussion that day was George.

10.George C. Scott was an American actor, director and producer. His most famous role was his portrayal of General Patton, and the memorable scene in which he slapped the soldier. Scott was a member of the US Marine Corps and served as a guard at Arlington National Cemetery. Scott returned his Oscar for Patton, stating in a letter to the Academy that he didn't feel himself to be in competition with other actors. However, also regarding this second rejection of the Academy Award, Scott famously said elsewhere, "The whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don't want any part of it."

There are many fascinating people that have been given various “names”. Today I contemplate “George”.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top 10 Chinese sayings

1. When wings are grown, birds and children fly away.

2. He who rides in a chair is a man. It is well to remember that those who carry the chair are also men.

3. Water and words are easy to pour, but impossible to recover.

4. Looking for fish? Do not climb a tree.

5. O eggs, never fight with stones.

6. The wise man listens to his own mind, the foolish man heeds the crowd.

7. A teacher can open the door, but the pupil must go through by himself.

8. The stream far away cannot extinguish the fires nearby.

9. Talk does not cook rice.

10. All the flowers of all the tomorrows are the seeds of today.

All sayings borrowed from the book, Tales The People Tell In China by Robert Wyndham.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Top 10 Wake Up Calls

1. Alarm Clock
2. Daylight
3. Automatic body clock
4. Hungry cat
5. Dog that needs to be let out
6. Birds Chirping
7. Train whistle
8. Kid’s cartoons
9. Someone running water in the shower
10. Smell of coffee

Friday, September 17, 2010

Top 10 Atonement Songs

These songs are not nessasarily related to any religious experience just life experiences.

    Heart of the Matter Don Henley

    I Hung My Head Sting

    The Man in the Mirror Michael Jackson

    If I Could Turn Back Time Cher

    Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry Chicago

    I’m Going to Stop Pretending that I Didn’t Break Your Heart Eeels

    Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word Elton John

    I’m Sorry John Denver

    Hurt Christina Aguilera

    Baby Can I Hold You Tonight Tracy Chapman

    The Day of Atonement begins at sundown on Friday. It is one of the holiest days of the year for the Jewish faith. It is a time to reflect on your sins of the year and ask for forgiveness. Not a bad practice for any one. I have included some female songs as well. We make mistakes too.


    As always, please support these artists and I take no responsibility for any comments made on youtube made in bad taste.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Top 10 Words that Work

    1. Words that Work is a best seller written by Frank Lutz.
    2. To quote Mr. Lutz, “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
    3. It is not my intention to paraphrase this book or his words but merely say what I took from the book.
    4. Words can often be misunderstood and often can destroy ones career.
    5. I remember a childhood game, whisper down the lane, by the time the phrase came full circle it had changed completely.
    6. A misspelling can also completely change the meaning of a sentence.
    7. When expressing anything in your own words, it comes from your thoughts and feelings on a particular subject.
    8. You have no idea how your words will be translated and misconstrued by another’s thoughts and feelings.
    9. Regardless of your intent, there will always be someone pointing or wagging their finger at your words. At times, they seem to have their own agenda.
    10. All you can do at that point is apologize for the misunderstanding and hope you will make yourself more clear the next time around and think before you speak.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Top 10 Fantasy Football

    Ok a rare opportunity a female asking for an opinion.
    I have been asked to play fantasy football, well maybe I invited myself.
    Here are some of my picks are they any good? My deadline is Friday morning.

    1. QB Tom Brady
    2. QB Peyton Manning
    3. RB Chris Johnson
    4. RB Arian Foster
    5. RB Jahvid Best
    6. PK David Akers
    7. WR DeSean Jackson
    8. WR Austin Miles
    9. TE Chris Cooley
    10. WR Terrell Owens

    I am a rookie and this time around it is only practice no money to be exchanged only female bragging rights. I know very little about football. Help a gal out.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Top 10 Art Appreciation

    Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a general recommended fee; there are no additional fees for special exhibits. Picasso was the featured artist until August 15th, 2010. I missed this exhibit but Picasso’s works can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I saw the Van Gogh collection on tour there back in the late 80’s.

    The Getty Museum located in Los Angeles, California has free admission. There are 4 buildings to visit North, South, East and West you can easily get lost for hours in any of these buildings and the beautiful gardens outside are also a stroll to remember.

    Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C., is the home of one of the largest collections of American artists. It spans over three centuries from the colonial period to today. All the Smithsonian buildings are an incredible experience.

    Leonardo da Vinci. The good painter has two things to paint, that is man and the intentions on his mind. These were notes on painting written by DaVinci in 1492. His work was on display at the Getty in June. He also was an incredible inventor.

    Rembrandt was a Dutch painter and I actually possess one of his paintings “Aristotle and the bust of Homer”. It is not the original of course; I picked it up at a garage sale. It hangs in my dining room. The light and shadows reflect the brilliance.

    Philadelphia Art Museum. My first experience was as a chaperone for each of my children’s elementary school class trips. Our children are very fortunate in the educational experiences they are exposed to.

    Renoir was recently on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I have to admit my ignorance. I of course know he was a French impressionist but probably wouldn’t have been able to pick out one of his paintings until I went to see this exhibit. What I liked about him was his depiction of women. Yes, he does do nudes but there is nothing obscene about his paintings. They are true depictions and an appreciation of what the human body truly looks like before the days of photoshop and the heavy promotion of thin is in. I found his artwork to be refreshing.

    Van Gogh In Philadelphia we own several pieces of Van Gogh’s work. Sunflowers and Starry Night are probably the most recognizable paintings worldwide but Rain; which is part of the permanent collection in Philadelphia is the one that knocks me out. The first time I saw it at a distance I thought someone had damaged the painting. As you get closer and read the description you are told that Van Gogh painted this while he was in the asylum and looking out the window at the rain. It is exactly what it looks like to observe the rain on the window. It is an amazing piece of art in my opinion. It is believed the Vincent Van Gogh suffered from bi-polar disease, he was also an epileptic.

    Thomas Eakins was a Philadelphia native. He studied in Paris and began teaching at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts in 1876. His portraits are often compared to Rembrandt. Eakins Oval is the name of the roadway that surrounds the Washington Monument in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

    Mark Tucker, the Vice Chairman of Conservation and The Aronson Senior Conservator of Paintings, and his colleagues at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts worked over 6 months delicately restoring these Thomas Eakins paintings to their original state. Mr. Tucker is an artist in his own right with this amazing work. Read more about this restoration. It is fascinating. The Exhibition Gallery is on the first floor of the Perelman Building and will be available to view through January 9th, 2011. Check for special events.

    We should all be eternally grateful to artists and the institutions that share their work.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Top 10 Reasons To Get Married

    1. Love. It grows.
    2. Money it shrinks. Much easier to share the burden.
    3. Security. Women are very protective : )
    4. Support. It is nice to have someone you trust hold the ladder.
    5. Companionship. You can’t agree and get along all the time. A different viewpoint opens your mind.
    6. Travel assistant. When the GPS doesn’t work, a map reader comes in handy.
    7. A quiet house loses its appeal after about 24 hours.
    8. Discuss politics. Opposing parties make the best couples and often form conservative liberals and liberal conservatives.
    9. An eternal sports buddy. I am not the best but I try.
    10. The real, hands down, reason to get married is to have someone to blame when you get mad. This weekend, at a friend’s beach house, he refused to close the fold up, pull out sofa and I stubbed my toe. Naturally this was his fault and grounds for divorce. Read the fine print before you sign any documents and by all means keep you sense of humor it’s not all fun and games.

    It’s still the law: Finder’s Keepers. You find ‘em, you keep ‘em.

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Top 10 Featured Artist “Ian McGlynn”

    1. Play Dead
    2. Night Driving
    3. Memorial Day Parade and Wings and Wires used in the 911 slideshow yesterday was written by Ian McGlynn and Chris Newkirk.
    4. Wrapped Around Your Finger Ian playing and singing with Last Cigarette covering The Police.
    5. Heineken Light Trailer Ian wrote the background music for this commercial
    6. T-mobile Ian also wrote the music on this commercial.
    7. The Bathroom Reinvented by Dwell background music is Ian.
    8. Jeffrey Beers. The Intelligent Home: Kitchen also composed this music.
    9. Green Domain Commercial: acting in it with Darling Cait and wrote the music.
    10. Listening In appeared on the soundtrack of the movie My mom’s new boyfriend.

    Go to Ian’s website and download a free mp3 of Digital Killed the Record Store and upcoming concerts.

    Ian McGlynn in concert September 24th at the Tin Angel

    more soundtracks by Ian with Dave Macarone

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Top 10 Reflections of 911

    1. "How 'bout driving 95S past the airport on my way home without a plane in the sky? Some scary stuff. You don't notice them until they're gone."

    2. "I remember that ironically it was most beautiful day weather wise." "Waking up the next day thinking (hoping) it was all a bad dream. Turning on the tv and passing The Pentagon on my way to work sadly reminded me that no, this was no "asleep" nightmare. It was a living one. " "The massive make shift memorial outside near and facing The Pentagon...from flowers to kids drawings to many people in disbelief. It's very close to busy I-395. But when you stood there, staring at the memorial and the side hit by the plane, you couldn't hear a pin drop."

    3. I was at work and received a phone call from my husband that a plane hit one of the twin towers. A co-worker and I turned on the television and watched the 2nd plane hit tower 2 live. We both screamed and I think an expletive came out in union. No, that did not just happen, what the.. is going on? I lasted about two hours at work and went to the boss and he said, ‘go” I wanted to be with my children. I went to the middle school and picked them up, the streets were silent. I still do not regret my panic and wanting to be with my children at that time. Very few parents were there with the same idea. That surprised me. It was just my impulse.

    4. Naturally, 9-11 was a Tuesday morning. I was in Miami (there were a lot WORSE places to get stuck!) I didn't get home till Saturday (so, 4 nights 5 days) which was the norm. My son wasn't even 2 years old yet, so it sucked thinking his father was home with him alone! ;-) Some people rented cars at quadruple the price (the car companies capitalized on that drama) and drove home (if they were within a day or so driving distance) with 8-10 people in a car. The poor people that diverted to a city in Gander, Canada there was no place for them to go...a plane full of people and the crew had to sleep in a school auditorium for a week. That was the worst story I heard. No food, little town, everyone tried to help but not equipped to handle...thank god I was already in Miami (on a layover Monday night) and wasn't flying Tuesday morning to have to divert to some weird city because all planes were ordered to land asap. It was weird and surreal. We were calling the hotel "Hotel California" because every day we would get our uniforms on and head on out for pick up to the airport and get to the airport only to find all flights were still cancelled. We would RUN for the van to try and get back to the hotel as quick as possible because so many people were stranded without a place to stay (we wanted to be sure to get our rooms back at the hotel) and were sleeping all over the, in other words, we could check out of the hotel whenever we wanted, we could just never leave, hence, Hotel California. It was so strange to look up and not see or hear any airplanes at all...ever. weird! We finally just went to the airport Friday night and started begging flight attendants and pilots to fly an airplane....a lot of them were too scared and said no...I offered to work a 757 from MIA to LGA but the airlines wouldn't let me since it was supposed to be an International crew and I was domestic. That flight never went; they couldn't get flight attendants to stay on to fly it. The airport was MOBBED with people smelled, because these people were there a week...every time they saw a crew member in uniform the whole crowd would start screaming and crying and clapping and saying FINALLY we're going home. It was really so sad. We all finally got on a 727 airplane from Miami (as passengers, not crew) in the early hours of Saturday morning that was actually going to leave. We taxied out, you could hear a pin drop, the passengers were so quiet. Then a huge bang (from the engine) and we turned around and taxied back to the gate. Everyone screamed. It was scary. 727 airplanes have a record of APU torching (flames from excess fuel coming out of the right engine) on top of a mechanical that flight cancelled. Then another flight to PHL was leaving. We all ran to that flight and got on. Again, it was sooo quiet once onboard. I remember there was an Indian guy talking on a cell phone in a different language (Indian, I suppose) but was making everyone uncomfortable. OF COURSE! You don't have dark skin and sit on an airplane a week after 9-11 talking in a foreign language. A Pilot (dressed in uniform but just sitting in a seat as a passenger) stood up and screamed at the guy to get off the phone. He did, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. we finally landed in PHL Saturday morning and my car was parked at Newark, NJ. So a few people from the flight got together and rented a car to drive up to Newark...keep in mind this was one of the first flights to get out of Miami so, these people were from all over...New York, Pa., Connecticut, etc...they just wanted to get closer...I'll never forget driving up to Newark, NJ (right across the river from NY) and looking over to NY to see the towers gone and it was STILL smoking a week later. Very sad. I probably could go on and on but it is sad.

    5. One of my running buddies from Long Island, NY was a fireman in Brooklyn. I'm sure you know that Manhattan is just over the Brooklyn Bridge. His House (firehouse) was designated as First Responder's for anything catastrophic in NYC. They have two shifts of (I believe) less than 10 men on each. I forget whether it was three full days on and four full days off OR that they worked 3-4 12 hour shifts and had the rest of the days off. Not sure it was very long ago and I don't keep in touch anymore. He was just another fireman, a husband, a father, dedicated marathon runner and friend. He was also on (post 911) several TV shows and sporting events for being part of that heroic house and all their herculean efforts trying to recover their fallen brothers bodies. All 10 or whatever their full compliment of men who went in...perished. They were some of the first on the scene and were up in the staircases getting others out alive when it collapsed. Anyway, that week my friend’s shift mate had an event or something he had to go to and asked my friend to switch shifts with him so that he could attend something that weekend. So if he had not switched, it would've been him. Instead, he had just finished his over night shift and was driving home on the Long Island Expressway when he learned of the first plane hitting the tower. Without knowing the fate of his fellow firefighters, he turned around immediately and headed back into Brooklyn to see if he could help. With security eventually shutting down access to Manhattan across all bridges, he found a way to convince authorities to let him through on foot! I believe he spent 6 straight days on site, taking an occasional nap when he had to. His as well as many other hero’s stories that day have been told over and over. He was overwhelmed and angry over the attention it had given them and his only saving grace about the shift change was that he did not initiate it. It still accelerated his retirement though. He was never the same. Please don't use his name, but perhaps you can find more (accurate) information on his experiences somewhere. Mine are from conversations with him while running and from one of our mutual close friends who ran with us.

    6. In Nov. '01, myself and several other officers from Radnor, Lower Merion and Narberth PDs were invited to accompany a group who collected and wrapped Christmas gifts for the kids of NYPD, Port Authority PD and FDNY heroes killed on 9/11. Our group, of several buses and police cars were given a VIP motorcycle escort from the Holland Tunnel to Police HQ for a brief ceremony to present the gifts. While the group toured HQ, our escorts took us to Ground Zero. The devastation was overwhelming. A large platform had been built overlooking the site and families of the victims had recently visited there. Many left messages written on the deck and railings. 'I miss you Daddy', 'I love you Honey'. As we stood there looking out over Ground Zero and reading those messages there wasn't a dry eye around. When I got home and my family asked how the day went, I tried to tell them but no words came. Just tears. (I'm having trouble reading this for the same reason). NEVER FORGET!!!

    7. I was in Yosemite National Park along with a group tour this June 2010 and you can view a video/audio reflections of new friends and their experience on 911 in the blog.

    8. In February 2009 we went to a cd release party in NYC. Randomly we picked a hotel to stay in and when we arrived it was directly across from Ground Zero. Our room was on the 24th floor and I had this incredible view down in the hole. I watched out that window as they moved the dirt around the clock. It is a sobering thing to watch. We also took the tour the next day and our guide was a survivor of Tower 2. All of these tours are headed by survivors or a family member. It is an extraordinary experience to actually live through that day with someone that was there and survived. The job is therapy for these people, a coping mechanism to tell how much something really matters and helps you put the little things in perspective. You get the inside story.

    9. Our tour guide told her story. Her office was on the fourth floor of Tower 2. She talked about getting a job in the Twin towers the tallest building in NYC but there was no vantage point being in the lower level. Her friend Ed had an office on the 93rd floor and she used to go up and look out the window and tell him how lucky he was. Ed lost his life that day and she reflects that you must always be careful what you wish for. Her own personal experience was that she entered building 2 and was told to use the stairs “keep moving, don’t look out the window, this building is safe”. They didn’t want the chaos of people out in the courtyard. Her group decided not to pay attention and left the building and stood across the street on the steps of the Brooks Brothers building and saw the 2nd plane hit Tower 2 she said the impact knocked her to the ground, as she joked, “I am not a little woman”. She looked to be over 160lbs. After that blast all she said she remembered was running and then found herself on a bus to Brooklyn and heard the Tower had collapsed.

    10. All of these stories reflect reactions to the planes that hit and demolished several buildings in NYC on September 11, 2001 but it certainly can not be forgotten that the Pentagon in Arlington, VA was also hit and the crew and passengers of Flight 93 that crashed in Stoneycreek Township, near Shanksville, PA. We all suffered some kind of loss that day. I can’t even imagine the indelible mark it has made on the immediate families.

    I have 2 slideshows in the blog of photos I took of what the area looked like in February 2009, not much has changed. This year will mark 9 years. You can also view the progress at

    Everyone has a recollection. Feel free to share yours. You do not need a sign in for my blog comments, you can be anonymous. I monitor all comments in the blog and have yet to omit any. I no longer consider them a personal attack on my character only a reflection of the person making the comment. They may be delayed in posting. I am spending September 11th with #4.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Top 10 A Hair Raising Experience

    1. I am not a high maintenance girl, well maybe to my husband and a few frequent email pals.

    2. I’m not religious about getting my hair cut on the recommended every 6 weeks.

    3. Well today I was overdue. I trust the professionals I have no agenda when I go in there and allow them to express their creativity.

    4. Today at the conclusion of my visit I came out as Cleopatra.

    5. This is my 2nd visit with a new hair stylist, I went back because she kept saying, “you’re so cute”.

    6. At my age, if anyone wants to call me cute, we are going to become best friends forever and I am going to tip you good too!

    7. I am not a natural blonde, probably more of a naturally going grey kinda gal and mousey brown has habituated my head most of my life when I was immature and a touch of red.

    8. My sister-in-law highlights me, which needs a touch-up more often then a cut and it’s a fun event. We chat.

    9. I know the ole grey mare truly lives underneath but I choose to keep her hidden.

    10. I find that it is not what you or your hair look like, it’s how people make you feel and Cleopatra is cool this time around. I only wonder how Mark Anthony will react when he gets home, perhaps I should also get a new outfit. I blame my son, he got a real nice hair cut the day before to start his semester at Temple, he inspired me, his reaction, “you will grow into it”.

    I have been called Blondie on some of my more challenging blonde moments but its ok I like being blonde it far surpasses blue. Some of my best pals have joined the club and when we all turn gray; it no doubt will strengthen our experience and our roots.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Top 10 Grilling Ideas

    1. Burgers 96% lean beef with a little Mrs. Dash mixed in.
    2. Chicken marinated in Italian dressing.
    3. Beef Kabobs with red and green peppers, tomato and onions
    4. Chicken Kabobs with pineapple and peppers and teriyaki sauce
    5. London Broil marinated in Italian dressing
    6. Vegetable medley with zucchini, tomatoes and garlic.
    7. Hot Dogs all beef
    8. Corn on the cob in the husk.
    9. Fish with a little lemon and butter or old bay seasoning
    10. Steak with Montreal Grill Seasoning.

    Happy Grilling and enjoy a safe holiday.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Top 10 September Songs Plus 2

    1. See You in September The Happenings #3. The Tempos #23 originally did this song and it is the one used in American Graffiti.
    2. September Earth, Wind & Fire many other artists have imitated this song. It’s popping, I love the brass. Live in Japan.
    3. September Morn Neil Diamond. Mr. Diamond has reportedly the highest divorce settlement in US history $150 million. Diamond is quoted as saying “she’s worth every penny”. Now that is love. Is he married now? : )
    4. Wake Me Up When September Ends Green Day. This song has been dedicated to Johnny Ramone of The Ramones, although it was not written about him.
    5. September Chris Daughtry one of the most successful American Idols.
    6. The Late September Dogs Melissa Etheridge
    7. September When I First Met You Barry White ahhh the sexy songs.
    8. September Gurls The Bangles
    9. September When it Comes Rosanna Cash featuring Johnny Cash
    10. Pale September Fiona Apple
    11. September Song Willie Nelson
    12. September Grass James Taylor

    As always, if you like any of these songs, support these artists. The music industry has changed so much. The language in the comments, I take no responsibility for another’s slip. I found one bad word but the song is too good to dismiss.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Top 10 Holiday Reminders "Don't Drink and Drive"

    1. Summer is ending and we’d all like to celebrate and get in that one last weekend of what we all wish was the endless summer.

    2. Be smart, stay safe, do not drink and drive.

    3. In 2003 the legal limited was lowered from .10 to .08.

    4. Checkpoints will be on the road more extensively over the holiday weekend. We were stopped in Somers Point over the Memorial Day Weekend. Even if you are not drinking it is unnerving and makes you nervous.

    5. What is the risk? Is a good time worth it to you?

    6. You are putting your life in jeopardy, your passengers and a possible innocent victim in harms way.

    7. The relationship between what your BAC is and how much you've had to drink depends on your body weight, how long a period you drink over, and a number of other factors.

    8. Review the Blood Alcohol Chart, it doesn’t take very much.

    9. Take a cab, rent a party bus, some clubs at the beach will pick you up and drive you home. Shout out for Nardi’s in Long Beach Island, I have never taken the purple bus but feel so much safer knowing it exists while I am on the island.

    10. Yeah this one is personal. I have lost friends and know people that have lost family members due to drinking and driving. You can’t wake up the next morning and pretend it didn’t happen. Be responsible and keep “life” in the party. It’s just stupid to drink and drive.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Sears Homes by Mail Order

    1. From 1908 – 1940 Sears Modern Homes program offered over 500 ready to assemble “designs” from mansions to bungalows and even summer cottages. Sears was not the first or only company to sell pre-fab homes. Aladdin Homes was the first.

    2. There is a large collection of Sears Modern Catalog Homes still in existence The Crescent Hills section of Hopewell VA has 44 homes. Elgin, Illinois has the largest known collection over 200 homes.

    3. These homes were built on the speculation and dream of M T Broyhill and associates, during the mid-1920’s and 1930. Marvin Broyhill purchased the land and subdivided it into lots. He brought in water, electricity and sewer. Sending letters to plant executives of prominent industries in the area and older neighborhoods, he advertised “strictly high class homes” to be built.

    4. Customers selected these homes out of a Sears catalog. You could vary the design and materials.

    5. Sears stood by its reputation for quality and great pride in the homes it manufactured and sold.

    6. Marketing techniques included sales kits, and photo displays used by salespeople to sell the house.

    7. Everything arrived pre-cut, complete with a set of specifications and instructions to aid in construction. I met one of the owners. He has live in one of the houses for 20 years. It’s solid; he said he needs to replace his windows but other then that it is a beautiful home. He said in the basement in the rafters you can see numbers on the wood to match the pieces to the instructions.

    8. Sears had an attractive finance plan and a personalized service where customers could modify the floor plan, exterior and materials used. The depression caused a lot of people to default on these lenient loans and this caused Sears to not only lose money but also became a public relations nightmare when many of these homes were repossessed. The program ceased in 1940.

    9. When a sale was confirmed, everything involving construction and completion was enclosed with a shipping schedule and origin sheets and mailed to the customer. According to Marvin Broyhill III, he recalled a conversation he had with his grandfather’s younger brother Pete. The pre-fab houses arrived by rail and included blueprints.

    10. There is a Sears home enthusiasts section of the Sears Archives website if you are interested in looking into this further. Sears records are long gone, so they can not tell you if you live in a home that was part of the Modern Home Program but they do offer suggestions on how to obtain that information. The lists mentions homes in Pennsylvania. Rosemary Thornton, the author of The Houses That Sears Built offers this “How to Identify a Sear Home Kit” at

    Top 10 Sears and Roebuck Company Houses by Mail

    1. From 1908 – 1940 Sears Modern Homes program offered over 500 ready to assemble “designs” from mansions to bungalows and even summer cottages. Sears was not the first or only company to sell pre-fab homes. Aladdin Homes was the first.

    2. There is a large collection of Sears Modern Catalog Homes still in existence The Crescent Hills section of Hopewell VA has 44 homes. Elgin, Illinois has the largest known collection over 200 homes.

    3. These homes were built on the speculation and
     dream of M T Broyhill and associates, during the mid-1920’s and 1930. Marvin Broyhill purchased the land and subdivided it into lots. He brought in water, electricity and sewer. Sending letters to plant executives of prominent industries in the area and older neighborhoods, he advertised “strictly high class homes” to be built.

    4. Customers selected these homes out of a Sears catalog. You could vary the design and materials.

    5. Sears stood by its reputation for quality and great pride in the homes it manufactured and sold.

    6. Marketing techniques included sales kits, and photo displays used by salespeople to sell the house.

    7. Everything arrived pre-cut, complete with a set of specifications and instructions to aid in construction. I met one of the owners. He has live in one of the houses for 20 years. It’s solid; he said he needs to replace his windows but other then that it is a beautiful home. He said in the basement in the rafters you can see numbers on the wood to match the pieces to the instructions.

    8. Sears had an attractive finance plan and a personalized service where customers could modify the floor plan, exterior and materials used. The depression caused a lot of people to default on these lenient loans and this caused Sears to not only lose money but also became a public relations nightmare when many of these homes were repossessed. The program ceased in 1940.

    9. When a sale was confirmed, everything involving construction and completion was enclosed with a shipping schedule and origin sheets and mailed to the customer. According to Marvin Broyhill III, he recalled a conversation he had with his grandfather’s younger brother Pete. The pre-fab houses arrived by rail and included blueprints.

    10. There is a Sears home enthusiasts section of the Sears Archives website if you are interested in looking into this further. Sears records are long gone, so they can not tell you if you live in a home that was part of the Modern Home Program but they do offer suggestions on how to obtain that information. The lists mentions homes in Pennsylvania. Rosemary Thornton, the author of The Houses That Sears Built offers this “How to Identify a Sear Home Kit” at