Saturday, March 8, 2008

Today Is International Women's Day

I looked for events in surrounding communities but alas, not even The People's Republic of Northampton (Massachusetts) had anything going on. I did a bit of online reading about it and it appears that outside of college campuses around the U.S., the day is taken more seriously in other countries. Correct me if I'm wrong - I'd love to be.
In my internet meanderings (while my partner W.P. alternately snored and watched Gosford Park on TV), I found this cool article at Susan Polgar's Chess Blog:
MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russian women in the Volga region city of Nizhny Novgorod are set to play chess using men as pawns, rooks and other figures on March 8.March 8 is International Women's Day, celebrated as a national holiday in Russia and several ex-Soviet countries.The young men from local universities who have volunteered to take part in the unusual chess matches will wear specially-designed masks and gowns as the women command them around the chess board. The board has been drawn out on a large 'carpet' which will be rolled out on a city square on Saturday."We had difficulties in finding men to volunteer. It was hard to convince young men to be under [women's] control for the games," a spokesman for the organizing committee said, adding that he hoped the event would increase young people's interest in "intellectual pastimes."

Friday, March 7, 2008

One Day = 720 Million

I found this video at the American Friends Service Committee website. This orginization was founded by Quakers, who have a long history of political and social action. I love these folks. I belonged to a peace group in the 80's, workding against nuclear weapons proliferation. Our first study group was conducted by a local Friends group. I've been a supporter of a branch of AFSC, Friends Committee on Federal Legislation ever since.

I visit both websites a couple of times a week to see what I can do to contribute. There are always several things in the cooker there; always a way for the average person to take action. Check it out and please post the video on your sites.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Elders

Peter Gabriel, one of my favorite recording artists, is also a strong champion of global human rights. I visited his homepage today and found a link to The Elders: Every Human Has Rights, which is made up of a group of world renowed global figures who have launched various campagins to advocate on behalf of human rights issues around the planet.

The mission of The Elders is to hold goverments and leaders worldwide accountable to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is made up of some powerful voices: Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson and our very own Jimmy Carter, among them.

I found this effort so uplifting and so worthwhile! When I get discouraged, I search for hope. If little else, it is at least a comfort to me and I hope to you, to know of noble endeavors like The Elders. This restores some balance to my uneven faith in humanity.

2008 is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary. You can sign the declaration at The Elders website.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Joni Mitchell: The Painter

Joni Mitchell is best known for her work as a singer, songwriter, musician and cutting-edge innovator. She is also an accomplished painter. Her artwork graces the covers of many of her album and CD covers. Mitchell has, however, gained prominence as an artist well beyond "album cover art". Her paintings have been featured in many galleries and exhibitions worldwide, gaining her recognition and praise as a painter; independent of her work as a recording artist. Below is a sampling of her paintings. Some have unknown titles and dates. I have labeled them if information was available. The title of the post is linking to the Joni Mitchell website, from which these images were taken.

"I'm a painter first and a musician second..." Joni Mitchell

Charles Mingus

Three Vases


Forty Below Zero

Georgia O'Keefe

Homage To Matisse

Turbulent Indigo/Self-Portrait

Sunday, March 2, 2008

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats

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