Shchedryk Returns to Carnegie Hall for Centennial Performance

I sing, therefore I am.

“A 1919 review of the Ukrainian Republic Choir in the Genevan journal La Patrie Suisse mused that the Ukrainian National Republic established its independence through the motto, ‘I sing, therefore I am.’  Ukraine continues to sing and continues to be.”  —Notes from Ukraine (carolofthebells100.org)

How often does an art reviewer from a neutral country declare that a choir’s performance inspired a nation’s victory in their war for independence?  That choir performed for the first time in America in Carnegie Hall in 1922, during that war, which ultimately ended in Russia consuming Ukraine into the Soviet Union, though Ukraine had made itself an independent nation, and despite Soviet domination remained a republic to this day.  (Ask the UN who were the first signatories to its charter in 1945.  One of them was the Soviet Republic of Ukraine, a nation by UN’s definition.  Ukraine was the first republic to break away from the Soviet Union, causing the collapse of that Union.  It absolutely could not survive without Ukraine.)  One hundred years later, on December 4, 2022, Ukraine returned to Carnegie Hall to bring again the power of music during war.

“CULTURE UNDER THREAT” says the website of Notes from Ukraine (carolofthebells100.org), and then, that culture again exerts its centuries-old power to overcome the threat.  The website continues, with this inspiring statement:

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022, has purposefully sought to destroy Ukrainian culture as part of its aims. Cultural sites have repeatedly been the target of attacks including works by painter Maria Prymachenko at the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, the historic home and museum of Ukrainian poet and philosopher Hryhorii Skovoroda in the Kharkiv region, and the Theater of Music and Drama in Mariupol.

Just as in 1922, the Ukrainian National Republic used the soft power of music to preserve and promote Ukraine’s independence, Ukrainian artists today are once again turning to culture to communicate with the world. A 1919 review of the Ukrainian Republic Choir in the Genevan journal La Patrie Suisse mused that the Ukrainian National Republic established its independence through the motto, “I sing, therefore I am.” Ukraine continues to sing and continues to be.

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The Putin Circus and a child’s love of her homeland in song

Please share this funny Putin video if you like it.  That’s why I post them.  So you can share them.  This is the YouTube link to share: https://youtu.be/t-wFKNy0MZQ if you are not foolish enough to share the link to the blog post you are looking at.  Doesn’t matter.  I’ll never know.  But I do not mind at all being a fool for the glory of Ukraine, in silly ways and others.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you … below the comedy here, there’s also the April 24, 2022 world premier official music video of the Ukrainian very young lady Alicia Kishe, accompanied by her father Timothy, singing the song she wrote, “Ukraine is a World of Love” sung in Ukrainian (a language that gets more beautiful the more you hear it) with English subtitles.  I think some people will like it; fools like me and otherwise.  Please share it when you get done adoring it.  Then adore it some more.  Let Alicia be Ukraine to you for a while.

TURN ON CAPTIONS (CC AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VIDEO WINDOW) TO SEE THE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  It works best if you watch it at the YouTube site.  For a special treat, run them in full screen mode.

Vladimir Putin – Putin, Putout (The Unofficial Russian Anthem) by Klemen Slakonja

[The name Vladimir means “ruler of the world” or “ruler of peace.”]



Enough of the funny stuff.  Now for the heart-melting beautiful stuff, what you always come here for, of course …

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Telling the Times; Carl Sagan and many others warned us of the shining city in a ditch.

Call this scribblement pessimistic if you must, but calling it so does not change anything.  Optimism begins with noticing, not with self-delusion.  It may begin with noticing self-delusion, too.  I want to point out some things we’ve been told about the soul of a nation and democracy in peril.  I want to tell of their telling, and tell of my seeking, and suggest yours.

If, however, a reader wants to use their idea of pessimism as an epithet, read on and enjoy your conviction.  Just give yourself the benefit of the doubt by reading.

Call this scribblement didactic if you want.  That doesn’t change anything either.  Try responding to something in it, optimistically.  Try acting on it, even if only in words.  That would be a change.

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George the Prophet

There were no official political parties when they wrote the Constitution.  It was not a negotiation undertaken by political parties.  It was an agreement undertaken by the people.

Below are crucially important and prescient excerpts from President George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796.

I wrote some comments that I may post another time. For now, I’ll shut up and let George do all the talking. If you listen, you may wonder why nobody told you the so-called Father of the Nation was a profound prophet, as if looking right at our generation when he wrote this.

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David Brooks on tap

You might enjoy this hour of David Brooks talking at the Commonwealth Club.  His new book (among several) is The Second Mountain; The Joy of Giving Yourself Away.

Recording (an hour):
https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2019-05-01/david-brooks-quest-moral-life
also available in a Commonwealth Club podcast

Brooks is a “moderate conservative” (he discusses this in the recording, saying he is really more of a 19th Century Whig) NY Times columnist, TV and radio pundit/commentator, book author, philosopher, and now director of a social movement called Weave: The Social Fabric Project with the Aspen Institute (weareweavers.org – you’ll like his 2-minute video on this page; find out about the project in the text under the menu bar items).

I’ve been a big fan of Brooks for many years. I once posted a comment on his Twitter page nominating him for Secretary of Reason in the next White House administration. (I don’t use Twitter anymore. Or Facebook.) But I guess it wouldn’t make sense for the government to have a Department of Reason.

 

Disarming Disbelief – Playing for Change

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They push the heart toward believing more about the world than it seems to want believed, something more believable — more real — when they sing about it, something we need them to sing about, to keep the spirit breathing, to strengthen faith and disarm disbelief.

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How I Spent International Women’s Day 2019

It was Friday, March 8, 2019

Like many special days, the essence of this one is for every day.  That’s my excuse for being a week late posting this.

Did you know that President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963, requiring that women be paid the same as men?  He did!  But it applied only to minimum wage jobs.  Above the minimum wage, women would continue being paid 60% of men’s pay rates.

Today, fifty-six years later, well, keep your chin up, I suppose.  Now it’s way up to 80%!  Just think: at this rate, it will take only until 2075 to get pay equality.

You never know … maybe by then we’ll have a female president, too!  A Latina!  Alright, alright, one century-long step at a time.

There’s an explanation of the pay balance situation at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which begins with this excerpt:

Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2017, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.

Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio. In middle-skill occupations, workers in jobs mainly done by women earn only 66 percent of workers in jobs mainly done by men. IWPR’s report on sex and race discrimination in the workplace shows that outright discrimination in pay, hiring, or promotions continues to be a significant feature of working life.

There must be thousands of videos on the web about International Women’s Day.  I looked at a few dozen.  Many were terrific.  It was a good way to contemplate the day’s meaning.

Can you guess any of the five reasons why I chose this eight-minute video to post as a celebration of IWD 2019?  Or would you like to post a comment on what you like about it?

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Put a Woman in Charge (revised)

WordPress clobbered the previous post when I tried to add this note to the  reblog of Put a Woman in Charge written, illustrated and originally posted by Lisa Brunetti at Zeebra Designs & Destinations~ An Artist’s Eyes Never Rest, online home of an artist, naturalist and writer in Ecuador with a global heart, whose blog I would keep following if I could keep only one, for its beautiful offerings in education (in art and more), entertainment, and inspiration.  I wrote more extensively about Lisa in my May 27, 2017 post Nature Writers I Follow #1:Zeebra.

I should know better than use the reblog button instead of just reporting on the piece myself.  So just go to  Put a Woman in Charge and take the time to read all of it and enjoy the heart and the art of it.

Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2017

Since they named this holiday for me, though people will be inclined to say to me, “Thank you for your service,” I want to say to them, “Thank you for my service.”

Naval Aircrewman Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Lanard, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron HSC-22 of USS Wasp carries evacuee off an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter following landfall of Hurricane Maria on the island of Dominica.  (As a former petty officer aboard two aircraft carriers, this picture strikes a particular chord in me.  It is so nice to see the Navy used this way.)

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