Great post from a great Blogger friend and a good follow up (or more accurately prequel) to this week’s Tunes Tuesday!

musingsofanoldfart

My wife and I have long been fans of the musical Les Miserables, so yesterday we took two of our children to see the recently released movie with Hugh Jackman as the lead character of Jean Valjean. We were not disappointed and enjoyed the movie immensely. Of course, a few people have noted some of its imperfections, yet on the whole, it is a very moving experience and fills in a few details that the play could not.

As an aside, I also enjoyed the dramatic movie made a few years ago with Liam Neeson in the role of Valjean. As for the recent musical version, I would encourage you to see it , whether you have seen the play, early dramatic movie or not. If you have seen the play, you will be even more moved by Anne Hathaway’s Fantine singing how life has killed her dreams. The music is so wonderful, sometimes the everyday tragedy  of…

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Tunes Tuesday: Les Miserables

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I had MLK day off yesterday and I finally went to see Les Mis. I will never forget the first time I saw the play years ago in DC. I had no expectations, but was absolutely blown away. It was love at first listen. So, of course I also enjoyed the movie.

There are so many important themes in this musical – the most powerful of all for me has to be Javert’s struggle to see shades of grey between good and evil.

But the theme of grinding poverty is pervasive in the story. While I was tempted to have Master of the House be this week’s Tunes Tuesday song because it always makes me giggle, I thought instead I would highlight one of the more meaningful and thoughtful songs, At the End of the Day.

At the End of the Day

Workers: At the end of the day you’re another day older
And that’s all you can say for the life of the poor
It’s a struggle, it’s a war
And there’s nothing that anyone’s giving
One more day, standing about, what is it for?
One day less to be living.
At the end of the day you’re another day colder
And the shirt on your back doesn’t keep out the chill
And the righteous hurry past
They don’t hear the little ones crying
And the winter is coming on fast, ready to kill
One day nearer to dying!
At the end of the day there’s another day dawning
And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise
Like the waves crash on the sand
Like a storm that’ll break any second
There’s a hunger in the land
There’s a reckoning still to be reckoned
And there’s gonna be hell to pay
At the end of the day!

[The foreman and workers, including Fantine, emerge.]
Foreman:At the end of the day you get nothing for nothing
Sitting flat on your bum doesn’t buy any bread
Workers:There are children back at home
And the children have got to be fed
And you’re lucky to be in a job
And in a bed!
And we’re counting our blessings!

What do you think? Have you seen Les Mis? What did you think? What themes resonate most for you? What is your favorite musical?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Art, Economy, equality, Ethics, Income inequality, International, Love, Music, Poetry, Poverty, Relationships

Couch Potato Curse: Where’s the real danger?

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I try to eat well. I know that I should exercise, and I frequently do, although certainly not as often as I should. I don’t smoke and I know that being around people who smoke is harmful. But toxic chemicals coming from my couch? That is a little more than my brain can digest.

Two articles in the New York Times this week (Eat Like a Mennonite and  Warnings from a Flabby Mouse) give me pause. They both reference endocrine inhibiters, whatever in the world those are.

Apparently, these are chemicals that can mimic or disrupt hormones and, while the science is still evolving in this area, these chemicals appear to be closely linked to several cancers.

We are always hearing about new things that are bad for us – and frequently, those things have become fundamental aspects of our modern culture.

If it turns out that plastics really are bad for us, just think of all of the things we use every day without even thinking about it that are made from just this material. It boggles the mind.

And then they talk about things like toxins emanating from car interiors, and shampoos, and couches, and cosmetics. It is exhausting.

I live in Colorado. It is unbearably dry here and I have a lotion and some sort of lip product in extensive use at all times. Is this dangerous? And does that mean sunscreen is dangerous? Which is worse for me – wearing sunscreen or not wearing sunscreen?

I don’t have children and can’t imagine trying to work through all of this to make sure one is doing the best one can for a child -just trying to navigate these waters for myself is overwhelming. I know my new year’s resolution is to let it be – and I am trying to do that. But I hope that there are some smart grownups somewhere in some agency who are helping make sure that my chapstick is not killing me.

Suzie chapstick always looked pretty healthy to me, but does anyone know where she is now????

What do you think? How do you navigate all of the health information that comes your way, especially about things that are non-food related? Does any of this worry you? Have you taken any steps to change your eating habits or other lifestyle choices because of this type of information?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Fitness, Food, Health, Parenting, Role of Government

Tunes Tuesday: Let it Be

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Happy New Year! I realize I am a little late with New Year’s greetings, but I just got back from my holiday vacation. Today’s Tunes Tuesday pick may not have the most poetic lyrics, but after having listened to this song hundreds of times, for some reason, I really heard the lyrics for the first time this past week.

Every year, like everyone else, I make New Year’s resolutions. They are rarely of the “I want to lose 10 pounds” variety – not because I couldn’t stand to lose ten pounds, but because I prefer to think more about what would help feed my soul in the upcoming year.

Past resolutions have included going to see more live music, spending more time with friends and family and spending more time on my own doing things that increase my contentment and joy.

As I look at this list of resolutions, I realize that they all speak to my desire to live more fully and appreciate people and things that are most important to me. This year’s resolution is no different.

I am a worrier – always have been, may always be. I come from a long line of accomplished worriers, especially on my Dad’s side of the family. If there were awards for worrying, we would have a cabinet full of trophies. But the truth is, worrying does not help anything. I know this to be the case, but nonetheless, I worry.

So, this year’s New Years resolution comes to me from the Beatles. There will be an answer – let it be. For this Tunes Tuesday, I present the Beatles’ Let It Be.

Let It Be
The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

What do you think? Do you make new years resolutions? What are your resolutions for 2013? Are there any songs whose lyrics speak to how you would like to live?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading and happy new year!!

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Filed under Music, Poetry, Uncategorized

Tunes Tuesday: Same Auld Lang Syne

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year from Buenos Aires! (Note: newsofthetimes.org will be taking a break for two weeks while I am off backpacking in Patagonia and taking LOTS of pictures!!!)

This song is the song that inspired my holiday Tunes Tuesdays – it has been a favorite tune for a long time. Can’t you just feel the awkwardness and the snow turn into rain?

Same Auld Lang Syne

Dan Fogelberg

Met my old lover in the
grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the
frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
She didn’t recognize the
face at first
But then her eyes flew
open wide
She went to hug me and she
spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.
We took her groceries to the
checkout stand
The food was totalled up and
bagged
We stood there lost in our
embarrassment
As the conversation dragged.
We went to have ourselves
a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at
the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.
We drank a toast to
innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
the emptiness
But neither one knew how.
She said she’d married her
an architect
Who kept her warm and safe
and dry
She would have liked to say she
loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie.
I said the years had been a
friend to her
And that her eyes were still
as blue
But in those eyes I wasn’t
sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude.
She said she saw me in the
record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was
heavenly
But the traveling was hell.
We drank a toast to
innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
the emptiness
But neither one knew how.
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving in our eloquence
Another ‘auld lang syne’…
The beer was empty and our
tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away.
Just for a moment I was
back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make
my way back home
The snow turned into rain —

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sYu12PdqVI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

What do you think? What is your favorite wistful song about old times? How do you celebrate the new year?

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Filed under Music, Poetry, Relationships, Uncategorized

Tunes Tuesday: Holiday Inspiration and A Baltimore Greeting

Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Greetings and Happy Holidays from Baltimore! For this Tunes Tuesday, I am highlighting one inspirational holiday song, and one song to give a giggle. I hope you and yours have a relaxing holiday season, filled with laughter and love.

My Grownup Christmas List
David Foster

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I’m all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I’m not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here’s my lifelong wish
My grown up christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
and wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This  is my grown up christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas
list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth
(there’d be)

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all
hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown up christmas list

This is my grown up christmas list

And for a little Baltimore hospitality and charm, I Want Crabs for Christmas. I couldn’t find the lyrics to this one or it would have gotten top billing here, no questions asked. I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out.


And Merry Christmas!!

What do you think? Is there a local favorite Christmas song in your town? What is it? What is your favorite Christmas song that won’t get out of your head this time of year?

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Tunes Tuesday: Christmas is All Around Us

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I admit it – this song is not exactly poetic. But I wanted to feature a holiday song and it seems that there are not a lot of holiday songs that are lyrical masterpieces.

This song is from the movie Love Actually. If you haven’t seen this movie, rent it tonight. It is the perfect mix of humor, emotion and festivity, without being too sacchariney sweet. We watch it every year to get into the holiday mood and it never fails to lift our spirits and get us ready for the season.

Be sure to watch the youtube clip below!

Chistmas is All Around Us
Billy Mack, Love Actually

I feel it in my fingers,
I feel it in my toes,
Christmas is all around me,
and so the feeling grows

It’s written in the wind,
It’s everywhere I go,
So if you really love Christmas,
C’mon and let it snow?

You know I love Christmas
I always will
My mind’s made up
The way that I feel
There’s no beginning
There’ll be no end
Cuz on Christmas,
You can depend

You gave your presents to me
And I gave mine to you
I need Santa beside me
In everything I do

You know I love Christmas
I always will
My mind’s made up
The way that I feel
There’s no beginning
There’ll be no end
Cuz on Christmas,
You can depend

Cuz on Christmas,
You can depend

It’s written on the wind
It’s everywhere I go
So if you really love me
C’mon and let it snow?
C’mon and let it snow?
So if you really love
C’mon and let it
If you really love me
C’mon and let it
Now if you really love me
C’mon and let it snow?

What do you think? What is your favorite holiday movie? Why? What are your favorite holiday songs? Which holiday songs have the best lyrics, in your opinion?

I woud love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under comedy, Culture, Love, Music