Birthday Week 2013 – Take 4

Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the glass harp – if ever a piece of music and an instrument were made for each other… I gained a new appreciation and a different perspective on this familiar work.

The glass harp, invented in 1741 by the Irishman Richard Pockrich, consists of crystal goblets of varying size with water in them. Their unbelievably sweet tones inspired Benjamin Franklin to invent the glass harmonica in 1761, using nested glass bowls.

There is a wealth of information available on Robert Tiso’s site, which I strongly recommend, including tutorials on making and tuning a glass harp.

Please enjoy Robert Tiso playing the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

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Birthday Week 2013 – Take 3

Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up. (Motto of the V Foundation for Cancer Research)

Until a much-loved friend directed me to this video, I didn’t know much about Jimmy V (Jim Valvano). He was an award-winning American college basketball coach and sports commentator. In June 1992, at the age of forty-six, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Metastasis was diagnosed the following month.

Exactly twenty years and six days ago, Jimmy V was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the first ESPY awards. On that occasion he announced the formation of the the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

There are some great moments in this inspirational speech, but one of my favorites comes toward the end, proving yet again that cancer doesn’t kill our sense of humor; it sharpens our awareness of life. A “thirty-second warning” came up on the teleprompter, and Jimmy V said,

“They got that screen up there flashing 30 seconds, like I care about that screen. I got tumors all over my body and I’m worried about some guy in the back going 30 seconds?”

Jimmy V died eight weeks later. His grave marker is inscribed:

 “Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry.”

Here is the speech.

Birthday Week 2013 – Take 2

This is wonderful. Two days ago, students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance created a “flashwaltz” in the lobby of the new inpatient tower on Hadassah Hospital’s Ein Karem campus. This is the campus where the Sharett Institute of Oncology is located, where I receive treatment. I haven’t seen the new Davidson Tower yet, and am not especially anxious to sample its many amenities for inpatients!

With thanks to @ElaineSchattner, who tweeted the link yesterday, please enjoy Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers.

Birthday Week 2013 – Take 1

In keeping with a longstanding tradition that I established last year(*), I’m going to offer about a week of videos I like so that everyone can celebrate my birthday with me. For the record, on Thursday the 14th of March I will be 58 years old – and counting!

Today we’ll start off with a wonderful piece of modern dance, choreographed and performed by Milena Sidorova to “Anitra’s Dance” from a childhood favorite, Grieg’s The Peer Gynt Suite. I’m sure you’ll recognize the music even if the name doesn’t ring a bell.

(* If you would like to see last year’s videos, start here. I’m a lot more self-revealing this year, I see.)

Thank you for coming to my birthday party.

Today is the last of the birthday posts. (Click. Click. Click. Click.) I didn’t go on for a whole week because this is harder than actually writing posts. It’s a little galling, though, that I get more hits on the fluffy birthday posts than I do on the ones I work on for an hour. Maybe I should take a hint?

To round out the party, two of my favorite Flight of the Conchords songs. Thanks for helping me celebrate. I hope you enjoyed yourself; I sure did.

The slightly insane “Frodo, don’t wear the ring!”

And the cautionary “The humans are dead.” (There’s a little “language” in this one.)

And the (party) beat goes on and on!

Today’s post is a little late because my Internet connection has not joined in the festive spirit. But we will not be kept down – it’s Birthday Week! (If you’ve only just arrived, the party started here and went on here and here.)

We’ve been sitting around watching the entertainment long enough, so now it’s time to get on our feet and start moving! Here are the young ladies of the King’s Firecrackers Jump Rope Team to show us how. If you’ve never seen these girls, you’re in for a treat. It starts off big and keeps getting bigger and better.

If you can watch the whole act and not have a cheerful heart and a grin on your face at the end, please see your physician.

Without further ado, I bring you The King’s Firecrackers Jump Rope Team giving their halftime show at the US Naval Academy on February 19th, 2011!

Let’s Party!

For some reason, I’m really looking forward to my birthday this year. It’s happening within the next week, but for the sake of anonymity I’ll not say which day or how old I’ll be. Let’s just say I’m more than old enough to drink and still a little too young to collect an old-age pension.

Getting ready for the big day, I actually played this in a loop for my morning exercises. Enjoy!