Sunday, June 6, 2021

Music (part 9) - June


June - It's busting out all over!

It's the month where spring meets summer.  It's a popular month for weddings.

Flowers are in full bloom. Many young ones are born.

And June is bustin' out all over is the title of the lively Rodgers & Hammerstein’s song in the musical Carousel (1956), as shown below.:

Spring and summer can bring optimism, new birth, new relationships. It's much celebrated.

Flowers appear on the earth
 the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
Song of Songs 2:12 (NIV)

Yet, any season there are the storms of  life. And one of Carousel's poignant songs, You'll Never Walk Alone is most remembered for the end of the Jerry Lewis telethons.

Singer Sissel does a lovely version of this number:

Weather, stormy or sunny--for those who trust in God, we have this promise:

Never will I leave you; 
never will I forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

You Will Never Walk Alone!


Monday, May 24, 2021

Write Stuff (part 3) - The Critic


The Critic

In 1916,  Lajos Tihanyi  (29 October 1885 – 11 June 1938), a Hungarian painter and lithographer, painted the above portrait of Andor Halasi, a literary critic. 

What is a critic? 

It may be a simple question with an obvious answer.


Critic, according to Merriam-Webster:

1a: one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances

a literary critic
a film critic
a theater critic

b: one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique

Critics of the new law say that it will not reduce crime.

2: one given to harsh or captious judgment


Opinions on writing fall in the category of literary critic, such as  Andor Halasi in the portrait. And as writers, we face many critics--the harshest of all from ourselves. 

Let's look at definiton 2 of criticone given to harsh or captious judgment

In general, criticism is the easiest thing in the world to dish out.  The critic may not be qualified in the field. He/she can be a drive-by snipe, whose motives are far from professional, never the less construction. 

Yet, an unkind word, true or not, can break a spirit...derail a career. Resilience, though, allows the artist to keep on going, keeping in this mind:

“There is only one way to avoid criticism:
 do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Elbert Hubbard

I remember in college, when stung by a roommate's criticism of my choice of studies. I shared my hurt with one of my professors. He gave me a copy of a newspaper clip, which he kept in his wallet. Clearly, the advice was precious to him.

“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;

who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Below is the narration: The Man in the Arena – Teddy Roosevelt (A Powerful Speech from History)

(Reference: )

I received the Teddy Roosevelt quote over 45 years ago. Since then, my professor who gave it to me has passed away. But his encouragement during that low time gave me the courage not to give up during many challenges in my life.

So, my friend, whatever you tackle, such as writing, consider the carping of the critic for what it is. Mine it for any truth that may be constructive. And most of all, get up and keep on going.

Write on!


Other post in series:

Write Stuff (part 1) - Give them Hope  (2017)

Write Stuff (part 2) - History of the English Language (in ten minutes) (2020)


Photo: The Critic/wikipedia

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Space (part 6) - Lyrids and Other Heavenly Things


Meteor showers! Supermoon! Oh, my!

Nature will be putting on a show this week of 18 April 2021: April features a pair of cosmic spectacles: The annual Lyrid meteor shower and 2021's first supermoon

How To Watch The Lyrid Meteor Shower In April 2021? 

Check out the video below:

( reference: )

For all you sky watchers and star gazers, as the late astronomer Jack Horkheimer would say:

Keep looking up!



Monday, March 29, 2021

Americana (part 2) - What a Country!


What a Country!

That is the catch phrase of Russian immigrant comedian,  Yakov Smirnoff

Yakov had been an art teacher in Ukraine, then in the 1970s, he made it to the US from the former USSR. Later, in America, he earned a Masters in psychology and Ph.D. in Global Leadership. In between, he did his comedy acts, acted on TV shows and in movies. (reference: IMDb )

After Yakov became an American citizen on July 4, 1986, he starred in a show about immigrants taking classes to pass the American citizen test: What a Country (1986-1987):

Yakov's acting art on a TV series imitated life.

Many immigrants (like my grandparents) had entered the United States from New York City, so the comedy speaks to many of us. Many came for a better life...freedom...opportunity.

Fifteen years after What a Country! ended, there came the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a hijacking that ended in a plane crash. September 11, 2001.

And here's the rest of  Yakov's story as the artist:

"After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade centers, he began working on a mural to commemorate the event. Just in time for the first anniversary of the event, the mural was printed on a huge banner, with the quote 

The human spirit is not measured
by the size of the act,
but by the size of the heart. 

It was hung from a nearby building where it was clearly visible from Ground Zero for over a year. Yakov financed the banner with $100,000 of his own money, but kept his donation anonymous, for fear that people would see it as a joke because of his reputation as a comedian." 

Reference: trivia

Yakov Smirnoff made us laugh,
then shared his art
to help us heal during a traumatic time.

Here's to a Russian immigrant
who loves his adopted country! 

What a country!

God bless him.

And God Bless America!


Previous post in the series:


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Space (part 5) - Perseverance



Its definition according to Merriam-Webster:

continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : STEADFASTNESS

These qualities capture the essence of the latest NASA mission to Mars.  Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of the agency's Science Mission Directorate, explained:

"Yes, it's curiosity that pulls us out there, but it's perseverance that does not let us give up." 

Perseverance was chosen from its naming contest for students K-12.  The winning essay was written by seventh grader Alex Mather. For the full story:  What's in a name: Why NASA chose 'Perseverance' for its next Mars rover

And for an overview of this latest mission: Mars Perseverance Mission Overview

Perseverance was launched, July 30, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, another testament to its name:

February 18, 2021, Perseverance successfully landed on Mars, a shown in this animation:


Modern marvels of technology recorded the actual landing:

And what a magnificent view!

Check out Mastcam-Z's First 360-Degree Panorama:

Thus Perseverance joins her four sister rovers: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity,  and Curiosity.

Reference: The Mars Rovers

So the Maritain Chronicles continue as we persevere!



Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Space (part 4) - Mooned in 2021


With 2020 hindsight, what will 2021 bring?

Leave it to astronomy to predict all the phrases we will be going through:

( reference: )

We've been mooned!

How nice.

Here's to 2022!



Other posts in the series:



Photo: phases

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

CC4 (part 2) - The Lord's Prayer


The Network TV Station Sign Off....

In the days before cable TV, the internet, YouTube, social media, TV network stations were not on-the-air 24/7. 

At the end of their broadcast day--usually around midnight, the network signed off the air. Usually playing a short presentation with a patriotic theme. 

Then came the test pattern and/or the white noise with the snowy screen until 6:00 a.m. 

A new day.

* When TV Stations Signed Off at Midnight

One of my favorite sign offs:

Nez Perce, The Lord's Prayer: Chief Shatka Bear Step offers the sacred Christian prayer in Indian sign language

(reference: )

This sign off prayer in Native American Indian sign language had moved me since my childhood.

And it was the inspiration for this scene of Book 4, Rainmaker, in The Commander and the Chief series.

From Part 4. Chapter 3: Poetry and a Prayer

The set up:

One Sunday afternoon, the town of Hanging Tree Wyoming was celebrating in Rainmaker Park. Many have gathered to hear Cowboy Poetry, Shakespeare in the Park and the Coyote Calling Contest.  Mayor Bill Clark was the Emcee. 



Bill Clark straightened his bolo tie. Decked out in cowboy hat and boots, he took center stage. 

“As Mayor of Hanging Tree, I welcome you all to our week of Independence Day celebrations. First up, Cowboy Poetry. Where some of our finest home-grown artists will share their life experiences and philosophy of the Wild West.” 

Dudes and dudettes recited their works. Some brought their guitars and sang their lyrics. Various versions of Home on the Range. The Cowboy Way. Clingers to their God and Guns. Lovers of Freedom. Ode to Wyoming as to what America used to be.

After the final poem was recited, Bill Clark announced the last act of the set. “I’m pleased to introduce our native son, Anton Orlovic. And our Native American Chief, Nova Orlovic.”
The Orlovic Cowboy-Indian duo stepped on stage.

The Chief, Nova Orlovic, and her nephew, Anton Orlovic, are the final act of Cowboy Poetry.

Anton wore cowboy duds with old chaps that had belonged to his grandfather, Nick Orlovic Senior. He also wielded his grandfather’s acoustic guitar. Refurbished. Tuned.

Nova had put on her mother’s beaded white leather dress with matching knee-high moccasins. Her war bonnet of eagle feathers flowed down to her thighs. It had belonged to her great grandfather, Chief Elijah Rainmaker.

Plucking broken chords in a haunting Spanish sounding tune, Anton recited the Lord’s Prayer. In consort, Nova stood center stage and translated the words, phrase by phrase, into Native American Indian sign language:

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not in temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the Kingdom
And the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.

Many in the audience teared up as Nova signed a rolling wave— eternity. Then pressed her hands together in prayer. 

A perfect act to follow church that morning.


And a perfect act to end 2020 and begin 2021. 

With a prayer.

The Lord's prayer.



Peacemaker, Book Three:

CC3 (part 1) - Peacemaker  (2017)




Rainmaker: DAVIS creative

 Plains Indian Sign Language/