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My Dad Died Today

July 17, 2011

My Dad has been dead approximately one hour.  I’m still reeling from this.  He was and still is my Hero.  No man in my life ever approached his Being. 

He was admitted into the hospital less than one week ago.  His leg had been causing him pain and he was using a walker to get around.  We learned it was broke in more than one place.  He had surgery only a couple of days ago … to repair the leg.  He never made it out of the hospital.

To me it seemed as if he was preparing for his death.  I believe he was ready.

He was an accomplished golf pro – playing with The Golden Bear, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead …. and I was always proud of him.  And I was his daughter …. and with his love he made me feel so special and so loved.  But it’s what I couldn’t explain to him …. the depth that I loved him … is what is left unsaid. 

Both of my brothers were by his side this evening.  They were not expecting this.  We were all looking forward to his birthday next month.  I had purchased plane tickets several months ago, and was flying to CA to spend his birthday with him.  Now the plane tickets will be used to spread his ashes.

My Dad’s last wish is that the three of us kids love each other and be there for each other.  That we stick together as a family.  And so my Dad was able to accomplish what none of us could alone … and that is to bring us closer as a family. 

I’m not sure what to do with what I am feeling.  I’m wishing that we are walking hand and hand down the sidewalk – the way we did many years ago. 

And I’m wishing I could hold him even just one last time to tell him …. SO MANY THINGS. 

 

 

My Dad.  My Hero.  My Everything.  I love you.

 

 

 

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Babysitting “My” Pandora

January 21, 2011

Sometime ago, DirecTV decided to subtly gouge their paying customers by replacing Sirius XM with Sonic (please see my prior blog).  (Perhaps DirecTV thought that their audience would not notice the switch?!)  I truly did try to enjoy Sonic – after all, Sonic did muster a half-ass attempt to appease the listening audience …  However, I eventually got to the point that I could not stand Sonic’s lack of quality of the sound, not to mention Sonic’s lame selections. 

After listening to the “free” Pandora for months, I decided to take the plunge and I not only purchased the “upgrade,” but I also purchased a Livio – Pandora internet radio (this will be a separate future blog post). 

Within my Pandora account, I have established several stations.  I have also listed to their genre stations – Pandora’s Classic Rock is actually very good.  One of my “stations” I have titled “My Smooth Jazz.”  “Seeded Songs” include Paul Hardcastle, Jackiem Joyner, Chris Botti, Euge Groove, Joyce Cooling, Paul Taylor, Camiel, Rick Braun, Earl Klugh, Kirk Whalum, Chris Standring, Philippe Saisse, Eliane Elias, NILS, Richard Elliot, Marion Meadows, etc.  A fairly “solid” collection of smooth jazz musicians.  (Music Genome Project – are you reading this???) 

“Thumbs Up” choices for this station include any artist listed above, plus new ones introduced by Pandora – thank you, Pandora, for SOMETIMES correctly expanding my selections – which now include “Sophia” by Incendio Noche, “Coffee Break” by Billy McLaughlin, and “Latinesque” by Michael Dowdle.  And so my “My Smooth Jazz” station has now been augmented to include music of acoustic / classical guitar.  The station was designed for peaceful easy listening.

HOWEVER!  Back to the focus of this post, which is “Babysitting ‘My’ Pandora.”  Why do I state I am “babysitting my Pandora?”  Answer:  Pandora’s highly touted “Music Genome Project” has either become mentally challenged, or has crashed and burned.  I am now finding that the music playlist associated and designed by my “seeded” and “Thumbs Up” selections frequently becomes erratic, evidenced by sudden selections of music that I do not like  nor want on this particular “station.”  For example, yesterday Pandora’s music genome project decided that I wanted to hear “High Roller” by Cheap Trick, and earlier, a gospel / religious selection, both on my clearly defined “My Smooth Jazz” station.  Hey Pandora:  Who chose these selections???  It wasn’t me!  Why is non-seeded and certainly “Thumbs-Down” music entering my carefully defined station???

And so I am now, albeit somewhat neurotically, listening as close as possible to Pandora’s interpretation of what I want to hear on “My Smooth Jazz” station so I can “Thumbs Down” each and every inane selection it tries to give me.  Also, another rather comical Pandora “behavior” – after I “Thumbs Down” an unearthly terrible Pandora “selection” which in no way reflects my song “seeds” or “Thumbs Up” selections on this station (where did this song come from???  It stinks!!), Pandora then pacifies me by selecting music I had originally chosen as a “Thumbs Up.”  Figure that one out!

To summarize:  I find Pandora very temperamental in selecting music that I’ve defined over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo – Dancing the Dream!

October 9, 2010

It has been a couple of years since my youngest brother “introduced” me to Snowball.  “Hey – check out this cockatoo!” was his emailed message.  And so I did.

I share a home with parrots – three cockatoos, a double-yellow head Amazon, a Quaker, and two parakeets.  My brother knew that there was a 100% probability I’d follow up on his suggestion! 

This evening while finishing up my evening bird duties and waiting for a family “Skype,” I decided to turn on my laptop.  All of the flock, excluding Phoenix and Casper (sulphur crested cockatoos) were in their cages for the evening.  Doing a quick search on “Snowball cockatoo Youtube” brought an excited cockatoo to the screen, which Phoenix and Casper, with crests up, enjoyed.  And I noticed that there is a new Snowball video!  I’ve included the link in this post.  Snowball has gone international, and appears in commercials.  To all, enjoy the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIJf4ChKkQw&feature=related

In Memory of John Lennon – Imagine

October 9, 2010

Vogue Italia’s September Issue: The Gulf Oil Disaster Through An Artistic Eye – Or Not?

August 7, 2010

What are your thoughts as you view Steven Meisel’s photographs of the Vogue Italia’s “Water & Oil” feature?  (please see sideshow below)

As I stated in my blog of 7/31/2010, BP has done a great job at moving the Gulf Oil disaster out of the public’s mind.  The use of dispersants, and the removal of Hayward from his previous job of CEO of BP are effectively moving the public to an “out of sight, out of mind” category.  I liken it to our general numbness of our polluting the world’s waters and outer space — “if you don’t see it, then it must not be there.” 

Photographer Steven Meisel and model Kristan McMenamy have taken bold steps in Vogue Italia’s September article, “Water & Oil.”  I view the content as not an attempt to glamorize the tragedy of the disaster, but as a look of the tragedy through an artist’s eye – Meisel’s interpretation of the images of the many oiled and injured animals, which we have all witnessed and turned our heads in disgust, disbelief, and grief.  And the bottom line – Meisel’s photographs rivet our attention back to the Gulf Oil Disaster.

“Under Water Love” Vogue Italia August 2010 : Kristen McMenamy by Steven Meisel

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Dumping Hayward – What BP Accomplished

July 31, 2010

Hayward will soon be a bad memory.  He is leaving the company he spent approximately 30 years with …. the fact that he was with one company so very long is in itself, admirable.  (I believe that my youngest brother, and an old friend who worked for McDonnell Douglas and remains at Boeing, are the only two people that I know have experienced that kind of job-longevity.)

And Hayward will receive a pension of (close to) $1,000,000.   Not bad, for someone who pissed off most of America this summer.

In my mind, the one monumental act that BP accomplished in their decision (thank BP’s Board for this one) is that they’ve been able to turn off the spotlight that has for so many weeks shone on the company.  Hayward, with his unbelievably uncouth remarks, was able – almost single-handedly – to keep BP in the public’s “eye.”  He was “the villan.”  A flesh-and-blood bad guy that America could vent their anger on.  Anger at the crud (ooops – crude) that gushed and gushed, anger at the loss of our environment and perhaps even species, loss of the lives of those killed in the initial explosion, loss of the economy in the Gulf area… 

BP and the Gulf Oil Disaster have been removed from the front pages of the majority of newspapers, sent to rest in the web-covered file cabinets.  Only those few who are holding their breath – hoping that beyond all odds, SOME wildlife may make it through their migratory cycles, SOME wildlife will not be driven into extinction, SOME Gulf families will be able to pull their lives back together without suicide or divorce or depression … those that have taken an invested interest this entire catastrophe … our broken hearts – are still watching. 

BP’s decision to dump Hayward was probably the brightest and best PR option that could have possible chosen.  And they took it and ran with it.

Let us NOT forget about BP, and all that the single oil rig explosion caused and ruined …  and will probably continue to effect for years and years.

BP’s Tony Hayward to Resign!! but …. where will he go?

July 21, 2010

Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP

The upside is that Tony Hayward will be resigning, according to msnbc.com.  I have inserted the ENTIRE article in this post.  Although I feel a smug “Ha Ha — now become unemployed!” (yes … I feel rather vengeful towards BP and Tony’s rude and tasteless remarks, due to the fact that the Gulf, including all of the wildlife that flies, swims, crawl, etc. in that area will be forever changed – all of this may have something to do with this feeling…), I have a feeling that he will land like a cat – on his feet, never to lose a “beat.”

For all, enjoy the article!!

__________________________________________________

Report: BP’s CEO to resign in coming months

Embattled Hayward may make announcement in August or September

BP’s embattled and gaffe-prone CEO will stop down from the position within the next ten weeks, the Times of London is reporting.

The newspaper cited sources close to BP there is a growing expectation Hayward, 53, would make the announcement in August or September. The company is trying to restore its damaged reputation.

BP spokesman Scott Dean denied the report, calling it “not true, he remains BP’s chief executive of the company” and that he is “very much in charge.”

The Times said an announcement could be linked to the release of a new strategy for the company, which has been dubbed Future BP.

Hayward has made numerous statements since the spill that have drawn the public’s ire. On April 29, the New York Times reported he asked fellow executives in the company’s London office “What the hell did we do to deserve this.” On May 14 he told The Guardian “the Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”

Somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons have gushed into the Gulf over the past three months in one of America’s worst environmental crises.

Perhaps his most famous statement on the matter was when said on the TODAY show May 30 “there’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” He later apologized for saying it.

According to BP’s annual report, Hayward made $1.5 million in salary last year, with a $3 million bonus and stock valued at nearly $1 million.