Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This is the air I breathe

I love this song. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. First heard it a few years ago at West End Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C.

Speaks to the soul, I believe.

I wonder if I have a soul?

I wonder why all those innocent people--298 of them--had to die in that airliner that fell out (or was shot out) of the sky over Ukraine. Burned alive. Their bodies, in many cases, reduced to tiny unrecognizable pieces.

Never again will they breathe.

Why did they die? And why so suddenly and horribly?

Never again will they take in this big, beautiful, enchanting, magnificent world.

Never again anything.

Their remains--what was left of them--began being returned to their home countries yesterday.

For whatever reason, in focusing on the tragedy of the ill-fated Malaysian Flight 17, this song came to mind. Turn your sound up and enjoy and say a prayer for the dead and their families. Maybe all 298 of them are in Heaven.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Music and our memories

Sometimes we lose our memory.

We forget who we are. Close family members that we've known for a good part of our life--husbands, daughters, sons--become strangers.

We forget where we live, where we came from, what we like to do, what foods we enjoy, even how to eat or sleep or bathe.

I know such a person. It's not her fault. She is 80 and has severe dementia. She constantly talks about "going home" even when she's at her own home. Paces restlessly, seems constantly tormented, always searching (but for what?) Her friends and relatives hardly ever come to visit her. Rarely call her. Rarely make contact of any kind. It falls almost entirely on the shoulders of her only daughter to take care of her. Perhaps others don't know how to handle her memory loss and thus feel uncomfortable around her.

But now there's a glimmer of hope for those with Alzheimer's--which today affects about 7 million Americans. If we don't yet have Alzheimer's, we fear it greatly. Dread that we, too, will one day lose our precious memory.

I say it's precious, because what do you have if you've lost your memory?

Here's the hope, the fervent prayer, the miracle if it truly works:

Pipe music into the ears of an Alzheimer's patient. Let them listen to what they once loved to hear or dance to. Some of them will suddenly come alive and jive and remember.

Music can really work its magic on a person suffering from dementia, according to a new documentary--Alive Inside. Dan Cohen, head of the non-profit Music and Memory program which created the film was recently quoted: "Ninety-nine percent of these people (in nursing homes) are still sitting around and doing nothing all day when they could be rocking to their music."

Says a doctor who personally has witnessed how music can transform those with Alzheimer's: "Music has more ability to activate more parts of the brain than any other stimulus." He has seen person and after person--barely alive and seemingly living in a dark, vague world full of strangers--put on headphones, listen to the music of their youth and light up.

While not a proven cure for Alzheimer's and maybe not effective for everyone stricken with the debilitating condition, music might be key to helping restore the memory of many.

If I lose my memory, pipe me in some tunes from the Mamas and Papas, the Beatles, Toby Keith, the Four Tops and Aretha Franklin. Rock me, baby!

Meanwhile,here's an exciting clip about Alive Inside:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Men and women

Who can know what makes men and women tick and sometimes color outside the lines?

It happens all the time.

Makes no difference who they are or how much money they have.

Power and status seem irrelevant when a man (or a woman) decides to stray.

Think of a few of the thousands of examples (all of these from the rich or famous):

1. Ex-NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Rebecca Woodard

2. Ex-SC Gov. Mark Sanford and Maria Bellen Chapur

3. U.S. President Warren G. Harding and Carrie Fulton Phillips

4. Ex-U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart and Donna Rice.

5. General David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

6. U.S. President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski

7. U.S. President John Kennedy and who knows what her name was?

8. Jim Bakker and Jessica Hahn.

9. Anthony Weiner and Sydney Leathers.

10. Beloved TV journalist Charles Kuralt and secret mistress Patricia Shannon (whose photo seems to be hard to find on the Internet):

Below is an old photo--from the late 1970s or early 1980s, I believe--of Charles and Patricia:

And the infamous list goes on. More names than I can list or care to chronicle even in cyber space (where space seems to be infinite).

All of them sultry, steamy, sensuous. All ripe, seductive fodder for the press.

Some have long since ended. Warren Harding, for example, was our country's 19th president; that was so long ago that he could have been on the Titanic. Could have fought in WWI. Could have personally known the Wright brothers.

We never, ever talk about Harding today. But that all changed a few weeks ago when a press-described "treasure trove of love letters" emerged between Harding and his mistress Carrie Fulton Phillips.

In one of them, the president wrote: "I love you more than all the world, and have no hope of reward on earth or hereafter so precious as that in your dear arms, in your thrilling lips, in your matchless breasts, in your incomparable embrace."

Men and women-even those in the most committed relationships--sometimes stray.

That's what they do. They stumble and fall and become bad. As the Bible says (paraphrasing here): The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Such is life. It makes things interesting. When people have the libidinal itch, they want to be scratched--in the worst (or best) way.

What names would you add to my list?

Speaking of doing it, here's a scene from a J-Lo movie that will get your blood flowing: