Monday, March 31, 2014

Preparing for Day of Silence 2014

I am not sure how many high school or middle school students stop by "Oh, By The Way," but if you are a student, please consider joining the Day of Silence on April 11th, 2014. And if you are an adult who knows a teen, especially a gay teen, who might benefit from this, please pass it along. The event is also observed on college campuses.

The Day of Silence started eighteen years ago as a way to protest bullying, harassment, and attacks on LGBT students in schools. In recent years, the destructive Radical Christian Agenda has attempted to thwart or stop this student outreach, essentially claiming that it is their religious right to harass, harm, and attack human beings for being gay. Because of this, it is even more important to counteract such hurtful, hateful, backward beliefs. A religious freedom is a personal choice, not a ticket to ostracize, punish, intimidate, shame, or attack (mentally, psychologically, socially, verbally, OR physically) another person.

According to the GLSEN website's FAQ section about the Day of Silence, "GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. Moreover, two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. Thus, the Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools."

I am posting this ahead of the date so there is time to plan. To organize a Day of Silence in a school or to learn how to participate, please visit the GLSEN website linked below. If you register your participation at the site, GLSEN gets an accurate count of how many people support the event itself.

Friday, March 28, 2014


I just booked tickets to see Kate Bush, live on stage, on Saturday September 27th, at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, performing her Before The Dawn tour, previously here. I got up at 2AM Pacific time, an hour ago, to make sure I could purchase tickets on-line when they went on sale at 9:30 GMT... before they sold out.

I am still shaking a little, and have received my email confirmation already, so I can breathe easier.
It is very hard to describe what this means to me, and I am sure a lot of people out there won't understand or may simply view this as another rock concert by some singer or other. But I have been a Kate Bush fan since I saw her on "Saturday Night Live" in 1978. As her albums became increasingly more complex, more emotional, more experimental (for lack of a better word) and the lyrical content became more involved with psychology, inner worlds, metaphysics, a sense of personal spirituality and mysticism, much of it inspired by literature, art, and film, I became more of a fan. Her concerns resonated with me. In a way, she created her own, vast mythology. Her album "The Dreaming" was a major force for me, not only musically, but in a much broader artistic sense, with its stories of Aboriginal Dreamtime, magical human to animal transformation, the disastrous effects of colonization and war on indigenous cultures, and the grander concepts of love and loss set against a fictionalized account of famed magician Houdini's death. She heavily used a synthesizer that was new at the time, called the Fairlight, which was one of the first digital samplers. But true to form, Kate used it in startlingly new and inventive ways.

And of course her follow up, "The Hounds of Love," contains what I consider to be her masterpiece, a concept suite called "The Ninth Wave" which is a devastating story about the experience of a woman lost at sea and her near-death. It is profound, moving, and sweeping in scope... so far beyond what any mere "pop" or rock music or musician can usually accomplish.

With each successive release, Kate has never failed to capture profound moments (listen/watch and read the lyrics for her song "Moments of Pleasure"), and the absolute cosmic joy and tragedy of being alive in this reality. Hers is a special mind and heart and talent, and I am beyond moved that I am going to actually see and hear her play these songs which have such lives of their own, songs that reverberate out through time.

It is 3:30AM and I am heading back to bed to dream of this September when I will be mere yards from Kate, sharing her genius with us. Thank you Kate, for coming back to the stage after so long away (35 years). You certainly did not have to tour since you are THE Kate Bush, a legend... but I am supremely glad you did. I never thought I would see you live, so this is, to sound corny, a dream come true. See you in September.

Kate Bush is magic. Kate Bush taught me how to fly.

UPDATE: According to the BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent, all 22 nights sold out in under fifteen minutes. I feel doubly lucky to have tickets.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The World of Impulse and Dream

“We have learned that beneath the surface of an ordinary everyday normal casual conscious existence there lies a vast dynamic world of impulse and dream, a hinterland of energy which has an independent existence of its own and laws of its own: laws which motivate all our thoughts and our actions.”
--Robert Edmond Jones

Monday, March 24, 2014

BEAUTY: Men--Eyes Part 2

Big, blue, brown, hazel, green...
Gorgeous eyes...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

BEAUTY: Painting--Michael Ward

Michael Ward lives in Costa Mesa and paints spectacular, quintessential images of Southern California. You can just feel the warmth and hear the breeze rustle the palm fronds... amid a kind of surreal Lynchian/Angelino decay...

Top to bottom: Bonito Court; Park Free For Penney's; Long Beach #1; Rollin' Down Pico; Long Beach House #3; The 99; Pink Apartments; Twilight of Empires; Dusk

Saturday, March 22, 2014


OH MY GOD! After 35 years, the iconic, legendary Kate Bush, CBE, is going to play a series of live shows! This is phenomenal and so unexpected--a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I mean, seriously, this is a huge, huge, huge, huge, HUGE, HUGE deal. You must understand that this is like getting one more chance to see John, Paul, Ringo, and George play live!

She is booked for 15 nights at the Hammersmith Apollo (formerly the Hammersmith Odeon) in London where she played a series of dates 35 years ago. Tickets go on sale March 28th: see the screen cap from Kate's website below.

There is already some speculation about the title of the show, and the promotional shot you see above which is eerily reminiscent of the photo that accompanied her profound masterpiece, "The Ninth Wave" from her album "The Hounds of Love." Will she be playing "The Ninth Wave?" Will she play old hits? Newer songs? Both?

I am sure the tickets will sell out in mere minutes. And we should be hearing about the concert, along with pictures and videos, after the fact.

Thank you Kate, for deciding to come back to the stage! Break a leg!

Kate Bush is magic. Kate Bush taught me how to fly.

UPDATE: Because of heavy demand, as would be expected, Kate has added seven nights to the already full tour, bringing her engagement to 22 nights! She is now playing to October 1st.

UPDATE 10/2/14: I was lucky enough to get two tickets to see this historic event and posted my review of Kate's show here:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Spring Equinox 2014!

Happy Spring (or Vernal) Equinox! Today our planet is upright on its axis, producing a night and day of equal length. And it is the official start of Spring. Enjoy!

Photo by JEF

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Evolution Really Happened

I am currently watching the new "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" with astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson on the National Geographic Channel, a follow up to the original "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" with Carl Sagan. This new version is produced by Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan who is Sagan's widow.
Such a worthy show... both of them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Proof of The Big Bang

A huge scientific breakthrough was announced yesterday. The twisting gravity waves from the Big Bang have been detected and seen for the first time! This is being hailed as Nobel worthy and will certainly add to the knowledge base for a Unified Theory of Everything! VERY exciting!

Cosmic inflation: 'Spectacular' discovery hailed
By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News

Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe.

Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.

The work will be scrutinised carefully, but already there is talk of a Nobel.

"This is spectacular," commented Prof Marc Kamionkowski, from Johns Hopkins University.

"I've seen the research; the arguments are persuasive, and the scientists involved are among the most careful and conservative people I know," he told BBC News.

The breakthrough was announced by an American team working on a project known as BICEP2.

This has been using a telescope at the South Pole to make detailed observations of a small patch of sky.

The aim has been to try to find a residual marker for "inflation" - the idea that the cosmos experienced an exponential growth spurt in its first trillionth, of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second.

Complete article from BBC News here:
and the BICEP2 findings here:

Monday, March 17, 2014


I'll have a boxty and a Guinness...

Top to bottom: St. Mary's Old Parish graveyard, Cahir, Ireland; Roadside sign, Cahir, Ireland; Ben Bulben mountain from Drumcliffe, Ireland; St. Columba's Church, Drumcliffe, Ireland; grave of W.B. Yeats, St. Columba's Church, Drumcliffe, Ireland; Giant's Causeway sign, County Antrim, Northern Ireland; Giant's Causeway sign, County Antrim, Northern Ireland; Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland; basalt columns at Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

All photos above by JEF

"Belfast Child" by Simple Minds

When my love said to me
Meet me down by the gallow tree
For it's sad news I bring
About this old town and all that it's suffering
Some say troubles abound
Some day soon they're gonna pull the old town down
One day we'll return here
When the Belfast Child sings again

Brothers, sisters, where are you now?
As I look for you right through the crowd
All my life here I've spent
With my faith in God, and Church, and the Government
But there's sadness abound
Some day soon they're gonna pull the old town down

One day we'll return here
When the Belfast Child sings again
When the Belfast Child sings again

So come back Billy, won't you come on home?
Come back Mary, you've been away so long
The streets are empty, and your mother's gone
The girls are crying, it's been oh so long
And your father's calling, come on home
Won't you come on home, won't you come on home?

Come back people, you've been gone a while
And the war is raging through the Emerald Isle
That's flesh and blood man, that's flesh and blood
All the girls are crying but all's not lost

The streets are empty, the streets are cold
Won't you come on home, won't you come on home?

The streets are empty

Life goes on

One day we'll return here
When the Belfast Child sings again
When the Belfast Child sings again

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Elevate" by St. Lucia

OH. MY. GOD. I adore this song, "Elevate" by St.Lucia. It is soaring, huge, and rich with a subtle but present groooooove... with a hint of 80s retro. Musician Jean-Philip Grobler is known by his stage name St. Lucia (and is totally gorgeous). Originally from South Africa, he is now based in Brooklyn, hence the imagery in the video. This is clearly in the running for my official "Summer Song" of 2014. It fits the bill for a "summer song" beautifully: catchy, fun, energetic, light, breezy, anthemic...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

BEAUTY: Painting--Emilie Lagarde

French artist Emilie Lagarde seems to be fascinated with a narrative based on what looks like dark fairy tales, Jungian archetypes, and ancient stories from European cultures... as if Rousseau had been painting The Black Forest of Bavaria instead of equatorial jungles. Her color palette is certainly muddy and of the forest, and her narratives are obscured as if by shadows and trees.

Top to bottom: Avant que le temps de l'inachevement ne nous rattrape (Before the time of incompleteness overtakes us); Chercher la trace (Following the trail); La grande ombre (The huge shadow); Le cheval de bataille de la grande dévoreuse (The workhorse of the great devourer); Le mains chaudes (Hot hands)

And by synchronicity, after I came across Lagarde's work, I came across a video for the most recent (Autumn/Winter '14-'15) women's collection from Alexander McQueen (Sarah Burton) which takes place on a runway that looks exactly like one of Lagarde's paintings! Burton's theme for this collection is an idealized, Teutonic, peasant-y Beauty and the Beast!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BEAUTY: Sculpture--Peter Brooke-Ball

Peter Brooke-Ball manages to make solid stone look pliable, squishy, visceral, turgid, and vaguely erotic...

Top to bottom: Brood Stone; For Warmth; Of This Bond; Reprise (serpentine); Reprise (soapstone)