Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Lisa and her mom Carol in Newbury Park

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Outside Michael and Eduardo's beautifully decorated house
Inside Michael and Eduardo's house
moi, Vicki Pacifico, Michael, Stan, & Eduardo and Bix in foreground

Christmas Caroling Truck

Eduardo presents the Clauses
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Back to West Toluca Lake and #201

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Goodbye to Trudy 'Grammy' Morse, One of the Greatest Artists of Our Time

The world mourns the loss of a great, one.of.a.kind philanthropist/artist Gertrude "Trudy" Morse, who passed away on August 21 at Arden Courts, Potomac, MD. She was 94. This pure renaissance woman was a civil rights activist, having traveled through Africa, Australia, Europe and the US, an advocate for natural childbirth and breast feeding, a poet, a dancer and all-around champion humanitarian. She is survived by six children, twenty-one grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Her late husband Malcolm S. Morse was a famous scientist with the National Bureau of Standards where he worked on dynamic thermo-physical measurements in space before his death in 1986. One of the reasons for her frequent trips to various parts of the globe was her continued interest in her husband's research on anomalous phenomena. Also, a jazz musician, she toured with and gave tremendous charitable contributions to Maestro Cecil Taylor, Kidd Jordan and Sun Ra to extend performance in music throughout Europe. To her, life was an unending adventure, and as well as writing eight books of poetry, she kept diaries on and off the road.

Scientist and fellow jazz enthusiast/poet/illustrator Ana Isabel O, who nicknamed Trudy 'Grammy' has this to say about her: "For me, Trudy was the most joyful and positive person I ever met. I learned a lot from her and her poetry. Dancing with Trudy was a thousand trips to heaven; she was a truly inspirational grammy!"

Born in Brooklyn NY, Morse, a prominent member of Who's Who and winner of multiple awards, resided in Maryland for over fifty years. She is survived by one brother Bernard Gorcey. In fact, her father was famous vaudevillian Bernard Gorcey and her brother Leo Gorcey scored big time in such films as Dead End Kids and The Bowery Boys. Leo Gorcey died in 1969.

Morse leaves a great legacy to all who loved her in the realms of literature, art, music and politics. The New England Conservatory received huge donations from her as well as Pauline Oliveiros at the Deep Listening Institution. Morse was one of Obama's original supporters and raised funds for his campaign.

Ana Isabel sums up best the essence of Trudy Morse and how she feels she should be remembered: " I never met anyone as positive as her. She loved dancing. Even a few months before she passed away she danced a bit when we met. She also sang and loved children. As she grew older she loved the laughter of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren more than anything. Whenever I was feeling low, it was Trudy who showed me how to reach my inner child. 
She was a trip! It will take me time to adapt myself to her physical departure. She wasn't scared of death, she believed and lived near death experiences -- Her spirit will live on." 

Trudy's website is back online:

A memorial service will be held on September 15, 2 p.m. at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, 9601 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, MD. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Rabbi David Shneyer of Am Kolel, 19520 Darnestown Road, Beallsville, MD 20839.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Don Grigware's Birthday Party 2013

At Cookin' With Lenny Smokehouse in Chatsworth
We were eight - fun evening, great food, music and lots of mirth!

It's my birthday and I'll laugh if I want to...laugh if I want to...laugh if  I want to...

Owner Lenny Mans the Barbeque Outside
our cute waitress Crystal
jim spada, stan mazin and a bemused gary warmee entertain moi, the birthday boy
jim spada and stan mazin share a simulated loving moment
bob machray holds court
carol and tony sappuchino liven up the table

stan mazin, gary warmee, sandra cusimano and musicians setting up behind

It was ribs, ribs, and more ribs!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mmmmmm GOOD!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

With Students at Don Cuco's in Toluca Lake

left to right: Gabrielle Caruso, Dante C, moi, Donaco Smyth, Laura Jacobson
Dante Caruso and esposa Gabrielle
with Donaco Smyth, off to Espana por dos semanas

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 Interview with Ana Isabel Ordonez

Internationally known biologist
and writer Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez is constantly embarking on new projects. Educated in Europe and a self-taught Victorian patchwork maker since the early 90s, Ordonez has presented her work in France and Luxembourg. As a scientist she holds Masters and PhDs in Genetics, Forestry and Animal Biology and has lectured extensively throughout Europe, Africa, Japan, China, New Zealand and South America on insect-plant pathology and biological control research. She has also written several articles on the value of nature. Ordonez, however, has not confined her interests to the world of science. A true Renaissance woman, she is also a reputed jazz editor, independent filmmaker, music/art promoter and producer. In 2012 she contributed tirelessly to the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial tribute with Christopher Kennedy Lawford, because she believes in her heart that true valuable art of any kind must never be forgotten. Five years earlier, in 2005 with trumpeter Herb Robertson she had founded Ruby Flower Records with the plan to produce avant-garde music, exclusively for connoisseurs and purist audiophiles with the slogan "Creatively speaking...Where the talents blossom". Only recently she decided to expand the company's offerings to also include poetry and literature for children. In our conversation she talks about her organization, how and why she is adapting it and manifests an amazing sensitivity and sense of humor on just about every aspect. Her beautifully poetic expression fills me with wonder.

Part I :
Ruby Flower Records Opens Its Doors to Ruby Flower  Publications
Tell me first off is Ruby Flower Records as prominent in the United States as it is elsewhere?
Oh, yes. It's an Indie label on two continents, America in NYC and Europe, that we established about eight years ago to promote contemporary and avant-garde music with CD and DVD recordings, CD sales of world famous jazz-players, as well as films with actors and actresses from the worlds of film and theatre, including dance projects. I feel the need to open up the company to include literature as my last endeavors have concentrated on children's stories with my own illustrations. The books are The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor and How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe. These will be available in three languages soon on

What specifically triggered the inclusion of literature into the company's repertoire?
 I read a lot, all the time. I read names of streets, names of stores and shops. I like to stand in Times Square and read every word that pops up on the screens… a confetti word carnival!  When I’m away in countries like Japan or Israel, I try to understand.  I like to know the meaning of writings. I love the graffiti in Johannesburg and Cape Town; they are absolutely inspiring.  I like to close my eyes and listen to the brouhaha of the city but what I like the most is to listen to the sound of silence. Words are sounds, poetry…. Books have been part of my life, a long time before I established a music company. I come to illustrate my words in children's stories at a turning point in my journey. There were  a mixture  of events  that touched  me deeply  and compelled me to write the books . I needed a spark. In Latin that sparks means "to breathe into"; people call it inspiration. Besides, literature is an amazing channel  to connect  with creativity.

Why children's literature as opposed to adult?
Children's literature is mainly written by adults. If it needs to be published it has to appeal to 
adults as well. It requires, however, the use of simple sentences. Adults and children are alike, the difference  are the toys. Besides, there is an inner child inside every one of us. It just needs to be nurtured; you  don’t need to suck your thumb for that! Children are delicate, fragile, innocent , wise and amazingly help adults to improve  themselves! When children's literature touches adults, the gap is a tiny line  and it can be magical….who doesn’t like Peter Pan ,The Little Prince, Oliver Twist….?

You seem to have the mind of a poet. It is difficult for me to see a scientist's mind there. When you did the science articles you wrote about nature and insects, did you have images forming in your mind of animals interacting? 

Oh yes!. I have been passionate with Entomology since I was a child. I accomplished several degrees in the areas of the sciences I love. How blessed I am! It took many years as a scientist to discover that between art and science there is not a big difference. Insects are very inspiring creatures! I've been designing since I was in the UK. I created my first drawings and cartoon humor in 1995. I never published it. However, I published many articles in different areas and two books. My science stuff sounds boring apart from the fact that for my first Doctorate I  specialized in the sexual communications of cockroaches.  There are naughty cucaracha stories in my head…!  (hahaha!) The animals interact in my mind. Thank the Lord, I'm the person I still don't know fully.  I try to fill this gap in what I do. I pass through the illustration which  represents who I am. Though I’m a tough cookie, tender and crystalline fashion is my cup of tea.  I rediscovered the beauty of innocence and wisdom when I was 26 years old, reading the fables of La Fontaine . Interestingly enough I never read children's books when I was a child. My first book and companion for on and off periods was Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf which I discovered when I was 13 years old.

Interesting! What did your childhood consist of? What were your aspirations?

When I was a child I wanted to become a professional dancer or clown. I practiced classical dance for years. Instead I became first a scientist, then luckily a clown when I learned how to mock myself.

We all need to laugh in life especially at ourselves. Can't be too serious! Describe the process for your illustrations. Scientists usually are confined, but you seem totally open ... to people and events

I create my illustrations surrounding myself with interesting people. Those are more inspiring to readers. When I find my muse characters I dig into their soul. I love exaggerated shapes and shades. When drawing, if a character is good, I make him better; if the character is mean, I make him meaner; if rude, I make him aggressive. If he`s funny, I make him funnier and so forth. Children and adults laugh at exaggerations. There is a kind of evolution on the illustrations though. It’s the external work. Sometimes I can laugh about an illustration. I go to bed laughing. The next day I cry! It happened three times…  Disaster happens. (Haha!) That being said, it was in the UK where I knew people liked my cartoons, because they made them laugh. I'm happy when I make others happy. You can do the same illustration twice but they aren't the same. Suffice to say, only God is perfect...but that's another story…

What do you feel makes your children's stories different from other books already out there? Everyone is an individual, yes, but describe what you feel you are contributing that is unique to this literature.
With these children's book series I want to bring happiness and awareness  to others. I can 
touch people I don't  know. I also want to touch early readers with a unique love story filled with 
wisdom and to produce different volumes about a loving friendship that exists between 
threatened animals. The books are funny and candid. That’s not new. What’s new is 
showcasing one of the most endangered species in the world in a flowing fairy context. “Out of 
101 species of lemurs the aye-aye must rank as the least beautiful” said Sir Richard Brason, 
and he has reason. It is very difficult to see an Aye Aye in the wild. They are the 
ballet dancers of the primate world. To be a biologist illustrating threatened species is just a 
joy! I celebrate campaigns to defend threatened wildlife. Laughing at the same illustrations that 
children like and laugh at, is a gas!

Do you think adults will find them as interesting as the kids? If yes, in what way?
Yes they will! I have given away my illustrations to children, to teens, to adults. I know, I know I 
shouldn’t .. Even more, when I showed my illustrations to the one and only Grammy Trudy 
Morse, she cried laughing. It was an awesome moment, as Trudy and I were watching the Aye 
and Aye and laughing. Trudy is 94.! But as you know Don, “art is in the eye of the beholder”.  
The people I know are like children and interested in beauty. In preserving this planet where we 
live, we must leave something good to the new generations to come. The Aye Aye has its 
sense of identity. People have seen the illustrations. They like them and I’m like “wow they are 
laughing, that’s cool” … I know they will enjoy reading the plot. Laughter is the best medicine.

Coming next week on Interview Blog:
Part II: A Detailed Look at the two Books
(to be published in July in English, Spanish and French)

Monday, May 6, 2013

To Be Genuinely Happy, Give Up These 15 Things

APRIL 25, 2012 3:02 PM 185 COMMENTSVIEWS: 91193
Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?”Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control. 
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.



 × 8 = sixty four

Other News

  • ANALYSIS‘Why act in a deceptive manner unless it is to make more money out of us?’: Products are getting smaller while the price you pay stays the same

    ‘Why act in a deceptive manner unless it is to make more money out of us?’: Products are getting smaller while the price you pay stays the same

    Inflation is an obvious menace when prices are rising, but a more insidious form is finding its way into our trolleys – the prices are staying the same, but the items we buy are shrinking. That’s shrinkflation. Manufacturers and retailers are increasingly sneaking in new reduced sizes while describing them as special offers or re-launches. Consumers do not like it. Research by lobby group Which? found 58 per cent of us would rather pay more than have goods downsized. On [...]
  • ANALYSIS SOCIETY & CULTUREFive million families ‘relying on loans and savings to cover their food bills’

    Five million families ‘relying on loans and savings to cover their food bills’

    Five million British households are relying on loans and savings to meet grocery costs, research suggested today, as they approach financial ‘breaking point’.  One in five families said that their monthly incomes would not stretch to cover their total food bill in April, consumer group Which? found. That meant they had to use a credit card, overdraft or loan, or plunder their savings instead. This would equate to five million families if the findings were projected across the UK, Which? [...]
  • EDUCATION SOCIETY & CULTUREPrincipal Got Rid of Security Guards and Then Something Unbelievable Happened

    Principal Got Rid of Security Guards and Then Something Unbelievable Happened

    Where most people saw a “drop out factory” and “career killer,” Andrew Bott saw a school with potential. Bott was the sixth principal in seven years when he took the job at Orchard Gardens, a failing K-8 school in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He proceeded to eliminate the school’s security infrastructure and used the money to jumpstart the school’s arts program. It now has one of the fastest improvement rates in the state, and students feel more safe, not less. It just goes to [...]
  • CELEBRITIES POLITICALEx-CNN Reporter: I Received Orders to Manipulate News on Syria and Iran

    Ex-CNN Reporter: I Received Orders to Manipulate News on Syria and Iran

    Please scroll down for video March 31, 2013 – Ex-CNN reporter Amber Lyon revealed that during her work for the channel she received orders to send false news and exclude some others which the US administration did not favor with the aim to create a public opinion in favor of launching an aggression on Iran and Syria. Lyon was quoted by the Slovak main news website as saying that the mainstream US media outlets intentionally work to create a propaganda against Iran to garner public opinion’s support for a [...]
  • SOCIETY & CULTUREBNP calls on members to breed more after elections disaster

    BNP calls on members to breed more after elections disaster

    The BNP fielded 99 candidates in Thursday’s local elections but failed to win a seat and lost its only county councillor. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters The British National Party has urged its members to procreate after it lost every seat it contested in the English local elections on Thursday. The BNP fielded 99 candidates but did not win a seat. It lost the one county council seat it held in Lancashire, leaving Nick Griffin’s party with just two councillors. members are [...]
  • SOCIETY & CULTURESqueeze them out

    Squeeze them out

    As Jewish settlements expand, the Palestinians are being driven away IT WAS just another day for the Israeli army on the West Bank. Having parked its jeeps in the hills south of Hebron, a unit of soldiers checked the papers of the Palestinians who lived there, confiscated one or two, and then herded the people and their flocks off a hilltop which a nearby Jewish settlement, called Susiya, has been eyeing with a view to taking it over. “Military zone,” [...]
  • SOCIETY & CULTUREMassively Expensive: Gitmo Costs Nearly $1 Million Per Detainee

    Massively Expensive: Gitmo Costs Nearly $1 Million Per Detainee

    Pentagon estimates put the cost of running Guantanamo Bay at over $900,000 per detainee, roughly 15 times the cost of keeping a prisoner at a US supermax prison, and roughly 30 times the average federal prison in the US.     That’s an awful lot of money to keep the 166 detainees in custody, particularly when one considers a number of them have already been cleared for release, and are simply being held indefinitely irrespective of that. Officials explain the massive [...]
  • CRIMESixteen Israeli fighter jets violate Lebanese airspace

    Sixteen Israeli fighter jets violate Lebanese airspace

    Sixteen Israeli military aircraft have penetrated Lebanese airspace and flown over several areas of the country in blatant violation of a UN Security Council resolution. Two Israeli fighter jets crossed into Lebanon’s airspace over the southern city of Sidon, located 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Beirut, at 7:10 p.m. local time (1610 GMT) on Thursday, according to a statement issued by the Lebanese military on Friday. The warplanes flew over several areas in Lebanon before leaving the country’s airspace [...]