Famous Last Words
Sometimes witty, sometimes sad, and sometimes even a little prophetic, these are the final words of some famous people before they shed their mortal coil.
Sometimes witty, sometimes sad, and sometimes even a little prophetic, these are the final words of some famous people before they shed their mortal coil.
Henri Matisse’s simple statement on the creative personality is powerful and complex. It does take courage living with uncertainties and hoping for possibilities. We spend our days sharpening skills taking classes, training, staying in loop, and getting ready for the moment lady luck knocks at our door. Yes true grit, selecting a career where worth and professional success are based upon others’ opinions who may or may not have more skill and talent.
Don’t we sound GREAT?
We’re what dreams are made of!
Here comes the “but”….
Living a creative life sounds exhilarating and it is; when is good it’s great when it’s bad well…you’ve read the stories of troubled artists and the depths of their depression. Theanxiety, stress and phobias stem from of the creative process can bring the most successful to their knees unable to cope or manage the smallest bump in the road.The stakes are high in creative fields, your uniqueness, individuality your entire self is defined by what and how much you create. It’s one thing to be the “that funny entering friend” and another thing to be the “nailed the audition, got the job, can pay the rent guy” and the more you have vested in a situations outcome the higher the anxiety. Performing artists’ live in a nameless field of the unknown, with no guarantees of success; yet success is only an audition or connection away. Worrying feeling edgy, preoccupied with the future are all part of the creative process.
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Launching of USS Maine, Brooklyn Navy Yard, November 1890
US Navy Historical Center
The ceremony of christening new ships began in the distant past, and we know that Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all held ceremonies to ask the gods to protect sailors.
By the 1800s the christenings of ships began to follow a familiar pattern. A “christening fluid” would be poured against the bow of the ship, though it was not necessarily wine or champagne. There are accounts in the US Navy records of 19th century warships being christened with water from significant American rivers.
The christening of ships became great public events, with large crowds assembled to witness the ceremony. And it became standard for champagne, as the most elite of wines, to be used for the christening. The tradition developed that a female would do the honors and be named the sponsor of the ship.
And maritime superstition held that a ship that wasn’t properly christened would be considered unlucky. A champagne bottle that didn’t break was a particularly bad omen.
When the US Navy’s new battle cruiser, the Maine, was christened at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1890, enormous crowds turned out. An article in the New York Times on November 18, 1890, the morning of the ship’s launching, described what was to happen. And it stressed the responsibility weighing on 16-year-old Alice Tracy Wilmerding, the granddaughter of the secretary of the Navy:
Miss Wilmerding will have the precious quart bottle secured to her wrist by a short bunch of ribbons, which will serve the same purpose as a sword knot. It is of the utmost importance that the bottle be broken on the first throw, for the bluejackets will declare the vessel is unmanageable if she is permitted to get into the water without first being christened. It is consequently a matter of deep interest to the old “shellbacks” to learn that Miss Wilmerding has performed her task successfully.
The next day’s edition provided surprisingly detailed coverage of the christening ceremony:
Fifteen thousand people – on the word of the watchman at the gate – swarmed about the red hull of the giant battle ship, on the decks of all the assembled vessels, in the upper stories and on the roofs of all the adjacent buildings.The raised platform at the point of the Maine’s ram bow was prettily draped with flags and flowers and upon it with Gen. Tracy and Mr. Whitney stood a party of ladies. Prominent among them was the Secretary’s granddaughter, Miss Alice Wilmerding, with her mother.
It was upon Miss Wilmerding that all eyes centred. That young lady, clad in a cream white skirt, a warm black jacket, and a big dark hat with light feathers, wore her honors with a very modest dignity, being fully sensible of the importance of her position.
She is scarcely sixteen years old. Her hair in a long braid fell gracefully down her back, and she chatted with her more elderly companions with perfect ease, as though entirely ignorant of the fact that 10,000 pairs of eyes were looking toward her.
The bottle of wine which her hands were to break over the formidable bow was a pretty thing indeed – quite too pretty, she said, to be offered up on the shrine of so unfeeling a monster. It was a pint bottle, covered with a network of fine cord.
Wound around its full length was a ribbon bearing a picture of the Maine in gold, and from its base hung a knot of varicolored silk pennants ending in a gold tassel. Around its neck were two long ribbons bound in gold lace, one white and one blue. At the ends of the white ribbon were the words, “Alice Tracy Wilmerding, November 18, 1890,” and at the ends of the blue were the words, “U.S.S. Maine.”
When the ship was released from restraints, the crowd erupted.
Johnny Cash was one of country music’s first “outlaws,” but the music industry was still surprised in 1957 when he played a concert at Huntsville State Prison in Texas. Over the next decade, Cash performed over 30 prison shows and recorded albums during at least three of them. (The shows at California’s Folsom Prison and San Quentin became the most famous). Here are ten little-known facts about the Man in Black’s prison concerts.
1. Columbia Records repeatedly rejected Cash’s requests to record a prison concert.
Cash started playing at prisons in response to fan mail from inmates who identified with his songs (especially “Folsom Prison Blues”). Soon he discovered that “prisoners are the greatest audience that an entertainer can perform for. We bring them a ray of sunshine into their dungeon, and they’re not ashamed to respond and show their appreciation.” He suspected that their excitement and gratitude combined with the thrill of performing in a dangerous venue would create the perfect setting for an album. His record company disagreed -they thought the concerts would kill Cash’s career and hurt the label’s image. But when Columbia brought on producer Bob Johnston -known for being a bit wild himself and for bucking authority (as well as producing for Bob Dylan)- that stance changed. Johnston readily approved the country star’s idea.
Columbia remained tight-lipped about the performance and the release of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968, still believing the album would never sell. But it did… an incredible 500,000 copies in one year. Sales were boosted by Cash’s tough guy image (he wore solid black clothing, used profane language, had a gravelly voice, and fought an on-again-off-again addiction to drugs). To help the cause along, Columbia released exaggerated ads claiming Cash was no stranger to prison. Which brings us to…
2. Cash never served time at Folsom, or any other prison.
He did seven short stints in jail, though, for drug- and alcohol-related charges. his song “Folsom Prison Blues” was instead inspired by the 1951 movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison. According to biographer Michael Streissguth, another influence was Gordon Jenkins’s song “Crescent City Blues,” from which Cash “borrowed” so heavily that when his version was recorded on the Folsomalbum, the original artists demanded -and received- royalties.
3. Cash inspired future country music star Merle Haggard.
Haggard was serving three years at San Quentin Prison for armed robbery and escaping from jail when Johnny Cash took the stage there in 1958. When Haggard later told Cash that he’d been at that concert, Cash said he didn’t remember Haggard performing that day; Haggard replied, “I was in the audience, Johnny.” In fact, he was sitting in the front row and was mesmerized by Cash. He and his fellow inmates identified with Cash’s lyrics about loss and imprisonment.
Haggard reminisced, “This was somebody singing a song about your personal life. Even the people who weren’t fans of Johnny cash -it was a mixture of people, all races were fans by the end of the show.” Haggard also soon realized that he shared Cash’s talent for making music and for speaking to the struggles of the working class. He joined the prison’s country band shortly after Cash’s concert and penned songs about being locked up. After his release in 1960, Haggard sang at clubs until he eventually became a country superstar himself.
4. The Live “Folsom Prison Blues” was too grisly for radio play.
Cash’s declaration “I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die,” followed by an inmate’s shriek of joy, was edited by radio stations. But the hollering wasn’t real. It had been dubbed in by Columbia Records since the prisoners had been too enthralled by Cash’s performance to whoop it up during songs.
5. Cash’s band smuggled a gun into Folsom.
Johnny Cash and his bassist, Marshall Grant, often performed a comedy skit with an antique cap-and-ball gun that make smoke. It was a prop -but it was a real gun. Grant accidentally brought the weapon inside his bass guitar case to the 1968 show. A prison guard spotted it and politely took it away to the warden for safekeeping until the concert ended.
6. Folsom Prison inmate Glen Sherley wrote the song “Greystone Chapel” and credited Cash with changing his life.
Glen Sherley was in Folsom Prison for armed robbery, but he also loved music. Before Cash arrived for the 1968 show, Sherley recorded the song “Greystone Chapel” at the prison chapel. Appropriately, it was about a man whose body was imprisoned but his soul is freed by religion. Cash’s pastor, who also counseled inmates, smuggled the tape out to Cash, who learned to play the song the night before the show. After seeing Cash perform his song, Sherley vowed to make a mark with the musician. Once he was released from Folsom, he went to work for Johnny Cash’s publishing company, House of Cash. Sherley later remarked, “I was a three-time loser when John reached out his hand to me in 1968, and since then I sincerely believe that I have become a worthwhile person and can contribute to society.”
7. Cash’s concert at Folsom landed him his own musical variety show: The Johnny Cash Show.
Cash noted, “I’ve always thought it ironic that it was a prison concert, with me and the convicts getting along just as fellow rebels, outsiders, and miscreants should, that pumped up my marketability to the point where ABC thought I was respectable enough to have a weekly network TV show.”
8. When Johnny Cash recorded At San Quentin in 1969, he didn’t know the lyrics to one of his most famous songs.
I was the first time cash had performed “A Boy Named Sue,” written by poet Shel Silverstein, so he had to read the lyrics from a sheet he’d stained with coffee. And before playing “Starkville City Jail,” cash explained that he was thrown in the slammer for picking daisies and dandelions at two in the morning. (By other accounts, he was breaking curfew, drunk in public, and trespassing.)
9. Cash brushed up on his Swedish for a show overseas.
In 1972 Cash went to Stockholm, Sweden, where he recorded the album Pa Osteraker at a Swedish prison. Between songs, he impressed and thrilled the inmates by introducing some of his songs in their language.
10. At the 1969 show, Cash’s song “San Quentin” nearly incited a riot there.
He’d just written the song the night before, and its inflammatory lyrics like, “San Quentin, may you rot and burn in hell,” clearly struck a chord with the audience. The prisoners clamored and stomped until he repeated the song. Shrieking and jumping up on tabletops, they were so close to rioting that the guards drew and cocked their guns and the camera crew backed untoward the exit doors. According to producer Bob Johnston, Cash later said of the hair-raising moment, “I knew that if I wanted to let those people go, all I had to do was say, ‘the time is now’ And all of those prisoners would have broken…I was tempted.” (But of course, he didn’t.)
The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element
The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Clockwork Orange
Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Fight Club
The Truman Show
Known first as “The Quiet Beatle,” George Harrison was a great songwriter who had the misfortune to be surrounded by two stone cold geniuses whose work often obscured his talents. Yet Harrison compositions such as “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” are as good as anything the Beatles ever recorded. And with his solo debut All Things Must Pass, he stepped completely out of the shadows of his Beatle band mates to reveal himself a powerfully spiritual songwriter with an expansive sense of melody. Harrison was also a gifted, fluid guitarist and hugely influential in introducing the Beatles — and, by extension, the entire Sixties generation – to Eastern religion and musical influences. His devotion to Hinduism was expressed publicly through rock and roll’s first massive charity event, the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh.
Before all that, Harrison was a teen guitarist in thrall to Britain’s 1950s skiffle revival — a working class kid with a band called the Rebels. It was Paul McCartney, a schoolmate one year ahead of Harrison, who invited the 15-year-old to jam with the Quarrymen, a group led John Lennon. (Harrison had come three years behind Lennon at his previous school.) This band would become the Beatles — and Harrison would himself become, like Lennon and McCartney, one of his generation’s great seekers. His response to fame, however, was to direct that search inside of himself.
As a songwriter, Harrison was continually out-gunned by Lennon-McCartney. The intense trio of songs he contributed to Revolver — “Taxman,” “I Want to Tell You,” and “Love You To” — would be his most significant contribution to a single Beatles album. He had other classics to his credit, including “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something,” his first Beatles A-side, a track which would top the charts in America. (Both came off 1969’s Abbey Road) But Harrison also funneled his creativity into the guitar, a suitably introspective pursuit. From his raw, early rock-and-roll influences he extrapolated a wide-ranging and poetic style. In the late sixties, he helped introduce the slide guitar to prominence; he also popularized the 12-string Rickenbacker guitar and its ultra-distinctive sound on 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night.
Harrison introduced the Byrds to the Rickenbacker; they, in turn, led him to what would become a calling card: the sitar. With the Indian composer Ravi Shankar as his teacher, the guitarist introduced the instrument (which dates to the middle ages) into the Beatles, and rock music, with “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown,” off 1965’s Rubber Soul. Two years later, Harrison’s unique, and principal, contribution to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band would be “Within You Without You,” a centerpiece for sitar. It was his experimental sliver of that experimental album, but it also a declaration of his independence. In 1966, the band gave up performing live (which suited the shy, perfectionist Harrison). In 1969, during filming of recording sessions for The Beatles, Harrison quit the band. He returned 12 days later, after negotiations, but he was the first splinter in the band as it finally broke apart in 1970.
Meanwhile, Harrison lived his life increasingly under the guidance of Hinduism. Shankar, who he’d made world famous, had become a close friend, and would remain so for life. He married Pattie Boyd, who he’d met on the set for the Hard Days Night movie, in 1966; in 1969, he bought a private estate in Henley-on-Thames called Friar Park. Creatively, he’d clearly built a head of steam. His Wonderwall Music soundtrack (Wonderwall Music, 1968) was the first solo effort from a Beatle, and as a ramshackle mix of traditional Indian music and rock, hardly one for the screaming fans. For Electronic Music (1969), he partnered with composers like Bernie Krause for an exercise in Moog synthesizer noodling.
Throat cleared, he then released All Things Must Pass, a three-record, Number One album of songs he’d originally written for the Beatles. It would become his masterwork. Produced by Phil Spector and featuring guests Eric Clapton and Traffic’s Dave Mason, the record produced “My Sweet Lord,” his biggest solo hit. That this achingly tender evocation of his religious beliefs was eventually shown, in civil court, to have its melody taken from a sixties hit by Chiffons (“He’s So Fine”) did little to dull its resonance. (It was determined that Harrison “unknowingly” plagiarized the song. In 1976 he would have a hit with Thirty Three & 1/3‘s “This Song,” a kidding take on the lawsuit featuring vocals by Eric Idle of Monty Python.)
Harrison followed this statement of faith with another, even larger-scale gesture, putting together with Ravi Shankhar a massive 1971 benefit for Bangladeshi refuges. Performers at the two Madison Square Garden concerts included Bob Dylan — who alone gave a historic show — Eric Clapton, and Ringo Starr. The shows and resulting documentary and three-record album (both called Concert for Bangladesh) provided a minor hit for Harrison, “Bangla Desh,” and millions for the intended beneficiaries. (Another asterisk: the majority of this money was held up for 10 years while Apple records was audited by the IRS.)
Picking up where “My Sweet Lord” left off — and capturing the easy-going uplift of the times, lacing it with his slide guitar — Harrison picked up another Number One single with 1973’s “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth),” off Living in the Material World. The next year he released Dark Horse on his own label of the same name, but despite the title track’s climb to Number 15, the mellow times seemed to evaporate. Harrison and Pattie Boyd would not officially divorce until 1977, but Boyd had already taken up with Eric Clapton, whom she would later marry. In a bizarre move, Harrison had the two cover “Bye Bye Love,” an Everly Brothers hit, with him. Worse yet, on his big U.S. tour with Pandit Ravi Shankar & Friends, Harrison’s voice, never strong, seem to fail him. A backlash reared up. And with that, he shrunk from one major spotlight: Those were his last shows in the United States.
Between 1975 and 1979, Harrison kept plugging away, to unspectacular commercial and critical results. Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975) and 33 1?3 (1977) were more the work of a (still talented) journeyman than a seeker, although the latter album produced a stalwart fan favorite in “Crackerbox Palace.” (Critic Robert Christgau, never a Harrison fan, wrote that the song was “the best thing he’s written since ‘Here Comes the Sun.'”) The slick George Harrison (1979) didn’t juice his mojo, either. But he had other things going for him: Besides his passion for Formula 1 racing (celebrated in Harrison‘s “Faster”), there was his 1978 marriage to Olivia Arias, mother to his son Dhani, who he would spend the rest of his life with. In 1979, he self-published a loose memoir, I Me Mine, and began executive producing Monty Python films. Still, his next album, Somewhere in England, encountered trouble even before it was released. Warner Bros. (parent to Harrison’s Dark Horse) demanded the replacement of four songs.
On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was assassinated by Mark Chapman. Harrison hadn’t reconciled with Lennon after the breakup of the Beatles. I Me Mine didn’t even mention Lennon, and when Lennon reached out to Harrison after discovering this, Harrison did not respond. His public statement offered a reserved, if not especially profound or feeling, conclusion: “To rob life is the ultimate robbery in life.” Harrison reframed “All Those Years Ago,” a song originally about Ringo Starr, to honor Lennon, and added it to the reworkedSomewhere in England. The song went to Number Two.
Harrison hit musical bottom with the 1982 bomb Gone Troppo, and retreated from the studio and stage for years. He made an uncharacteristically brash return in 1987 withCloud Nine, which featured George in mirrored shades on its cover. The record went platinum and delivered a sticky Number One hit “Got My Mind Set on You,” a song derived from an obscure sixties number by Rudy Clark. Whatever the state of Harrison’s inner focus, it wasn’t probed here. But producer Jeff Lynne (of Electric Light Orchestra) helped Harrison lay on a fine sheen, and kept him to a tidy 11 tracks.
Late Eighties rock was, briefly, very good to George Harrison. Before long he and Lynne hooked up with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison to record a song for Harrison — which led to the Traveling Wilburys, the last word on the rock super group. Their two albums — the irrepressible Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 (1988) and scattershot Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 (1990) — goosed the careers of all involved, and led to Harrison’s 1991 tour of Japan with Eric Clapton, which in turn led to the solid Live in Japan.
After this, Harrison returned to quietude. In 1995, he, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr produced two “new” Beatles songs “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” for The Beatles Anthology documentary and albums. In 1998, at Linda McCartney’s funeral, the three appeared in public together for the first time in 30 years. Also in 1998, Harrison revealed he had been treated for throat cancer, and he was soon beset by more difficulty: On December 30, 1999, a mentally unstable man named Michael Abram broke into the Friar Park estate, lured Harrison out of his bedroom, and stabbed him repeatedly. The attack finally ended when Abram collapsed from injuries sustained when Olivia Harrison fought him off with a fireplace poker.
Harrison continued to suffer from cancer, an on November 29, 2001, at only 58 years old, Harrison died of the disease. He was memorialized around the world. On the first anniversary of his death, McCartney, Starr and many of Harrison’s other friends gathered for the Concert for George, which benefited the Material World Charitable Foundation. McCartney and Starr collaborated on “For You Blue,” Eric Clapton and Jeff Lynne performed “Here Comes the Sun,” and all artists at the concert gathered for several Harrison classics, including “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”Brainwashed, which Harrison had been working on with his son Dhani just before his death, was released in 2002 to warm critical reception. In 2004 Harrison was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist (the Beatles were inducted in 1988), and in 2009 EMI released Let it Roll: Songs by George Harrison, a career-spanning compilation.
Shortly after his death, Harrison’s family issued a statement that summed up his legacy: “He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said, ‘Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.'”
A special memorial garden in honour of George Harrison was officially opened at Aldenham’s Hare Krishna Temple.
The George Harrison Memorial Garden was officially opened at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, in Hilfield lane, last month.
When the former Beatles guitarist passed away on November 29, 2001, Bhaktivedanta Manor resolved to create a quiet garden in his memory.
His widow, Olivia Harrison, was joined by television presenters Monty Don and Peter Owen-Jones at the garden’s opening on Saturday, May 25.
The news: A new book claims that potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was an “enthusiastic pot user,” according to a quote from a former law school classmate.
Clinton recently denied ever having tried weed in an interview while promoting her book, claiming, “I didn’t do it when I was young. I’m not going to start now.”
However, after being against decriminalization during her 2008 presidential bid and calling for more research into its medical benefits, this time around, Clinton has recently said, “I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances.”
It’s a somewhat noncommittal kind of support, but it is worlds away from her previous opposition to decriminalizing.
With the status quo. If Clinton was an “enthusiastic pot user” in college, she’s not much different from nearly half of the population. According to a 2013 Pew Research poll, 48% of Americans have tried cannabis at some point. Clinton’s political views on the topic are also shifting with the national trend, with amajority of the country in favor of legalization. Her statements signal favorable leadership for the pro-legalization majority.
Insult turned to favor. The book making the claim, Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, is essentially a takedown of both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political careers. Its timing suggests that it hopes to detract from Clinton’s anticipated 2016 presidential run. However, considering popular public support for marijuana legalization, accusations of pot use may simply make her seem more relatable. All in all, it could mean a higher IQ rating for Clinton and a better chance that we might have a cannabis-supportive president come 2016.
“Never in my career did I guess that I’d be passing out delicious snacks at Hempfest,” Sean Whitcomb told Salon. “But that happened.” Hempfest goers seemed equally surprised to find Whitcomb, a sergeant in the Seattle Police Department, handing out bags of Doritos and not court summonses among the bong vendors and joint smokers at the city’s annual outdoor pot festival.
They’re typically arch-nemeses, potheads and police officers, but the munchies were a big hit and both sides seemed to relish the irony, with the bags now selling on eBay for as much as much as $50 a pop.
Whitcomb and his fellow officers are trying to make positive interactions like this between two groups historically skeptical of each other more commonplace after voters in the Evergreen State legalized pot in November. They’re trying to educate — the Doritos bags came with information about the new law — but beyond that, they’re trying to make a connection.
Like parents who look the other way as their kids drink a few beers with friends (but confiscate everyone’s keys), the Seattle cops also seem almost desperate to be liked. They return confiscated stashes, write funny blog posts and use their official Twitter account to announce that the chief of police pulled over a truck adorned with fake pot leaves — in order to give the driver directions to Hempfest. And so what if there’s nothing less cool that someone trying really hard to be cool — can you really blame them?
“Absurd marijuana prohibition laws have long fueled contempt for law enforcement officials, and this type of outreach can help patch up that relationship between police and the public,” said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization group based in Washington, D.C. “It is great to see … The Seattle Police Department appears to be moving forward with the voters, as opposed to resisting the changes demanded by voters, which is unfortunately still the case in far too many communities that have embraced reform.”
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