Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Jerusalem, Israel In Amazing 3D

This was first published in August of 2011.

Hat Tip:  My sister-in-law Francine, a great American patriot and friend of Israel.
Please play this in full screen mode to get the full effect of the beauty of Jerusalem, Israel.

There is no political statement here...just showing the breath taking beauty of this great city.

God Bless Israel

God Bless America

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tales Tweet Of The Week - Jan. 23, 2017

It is that time once again to announce the winner of the Tales Tweet of the Week for those millions of you who read the Tales everyday.  [well I can use alternative facts if I want to-it's my blog]   :-) 

But Tales, you may be thinking, how can it be time for the Tales Tweet of the Week when the week is just beginning.  Well, my friends, the Tales, in consultation with the Tales law firm, Dewey, Cheatem and Howe, has determined that there cannot possibly be another tweet this week as good as this one. Either that or we are becoming lazy here at the Tales.  We report, you decide.

So, without further ado we'd like to announce the winner of the prestigious, much sought after award. Having met the stringent requirements of this award [i.e., it must be a tweet on twitter], and having been voted on by the Tales and it's law firm [in a vote of 1-0 with 3 abstentions], we congratulate Ben Shapiro as the winner of this week's Tales Tweet of the Week.  The great Ben Shapiro may be a first time winner of this award but he almost assuredly wont be a last time winner.

From Ben's twitter page: DailyWire.com, syndicated columnist, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show," National Review, NYT bestseller bshapiro@dailywire.com

The Tales Tweet of the Week: Jan. 22, 2017:
Ben Shapiro @benshapiro - Jan. 22
This is not hard.  When Trump does good things, praise him.  When Trump does bad things, condemn him.  Basic decency is not tough.

And in keeping with his own widsom, Ben Shapiro offered this tweet today [proving he is a man of his word]:    

 Ben Shapiro @benshapiro - Jan. 23   
 Today in Good Trump/Bad Trump:  Good Trump:  Regulatory reform, Gorsuch,  Heather Wilson.  Bad Trump: Anti-trade moves without alternatives.           

Congratulations Ben Shapiro!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tribute To A Special Child

Today Jan. 21 would have been Jermaine's 41st birthday.  As he rests in peace with God I'd like to do this repeat post from June 1, 2013.  

I want to thank everyone for all your well wishes and prayers for me and Sheralyn.  This is the eulogy/tribute I read for my wife's son Jermaine on 6-1-2013  who passed on May 25, 2013.
Tribute to a special child-Jermaine   

When a child is born it is a blessing to a parent.  That was true for Sheralyn with the birth of Jermaine in January of 1976.  In this case, not only was Sheralyn blessed, but so was Jermaine. He was blessed to have such a wonderful mother.

Jermaine was a special needs child. A special needs child needs a special Mom.  I can say unequivocally that Sheralyn is a special Mom. She has been special not just to Jermaine but to our daughter Ebony as well. I have never really expressed my appreciation to Sheralyn for everything she has done to be that special Mom.  Thank you, Sheralyn.  I love you.

Yes, Jermaine was a special needs child and he was very special to Sheralyn. She loved him with all of her heart and soul.  Jermaine in turn, though he might not be able to express himself in words, returned the love to Sheralyn. While it took a lot of extra care for her to take care of Jermaine, it didn't interfere with all of the love that she received from him. This was her baby, and he will always be her baby.  Nothing can take that away from her.

While, with all children, Jermaine could sometimes be unruly at home, he would never be unruly when he was out with Sheralyn and me. Whether Sheralyn and I would take Jermaine with us to a movie or a concert or any function, Jermaine would act like a perfect gentleman.  I remember when we used to go out to dinner with a young Jermaine and a very young Ebony, people would actually come to our table and compliment us that they had never seen such well behaved children before.  Trust me, that was all a result of Sheralyn's parenting, not mine.  Although, when someone complimented us, I would always be the first one to say, "thank you".  I believe in my heart, that Jermaine acted so well behaved in public because he loved Sheralyn so much that he would do nothing to embarrass her.

When Sheralyn and I dropped off Jermaine for his first day of school at Herod Elementary, I remember Jermaine had his head down walking slowly and waving his arm up and down from his side in an “aw shucks, do I have to go to school?” manner.  All of the teachers at Herod and at the special needs program that Jermaine would go to when he was older truly loved Jermaine.  Everyone who met Jermaine loved him.

Jermaine, at times, could be funny too.  I remember one of Sheralyn’s best friends, Maria, a wonderful Hispanic lady would sometimes baby sit for Jermaine at her home with her own children.  One time when we went to pick up Jermaine after an evening out, Maria came out laughing with Jermaine.  Maria said Jermaine made her laugh because she asked him if he wanted to play some game and Jermaine told her, “no way Jose.”  I don’t know where he came up with that one.

Yes, while Jermaine could only put together a few words at a time, many times he would bring us to laughter. Even more times, he would bring a smile to our face.

As you can tell, Sheralyn and Jermaine had a special relationship.  I want to thank Sheralyn for making me her husband and letting me be a part of that relationship to love Jermaine.  

While it has broken Sheralyn’s heart for her baby to have been taken at such an early age, I am praying that Sheralyn’s unwavering faith will ease her pain knowing that Jermaine is now resting with God. 

Her love for Jermaine will never end and he will always have a special place in her heart. 

May Jermaine rest in peace and may God Bless these two very special people, Jermaine and Sheralyn.

Sheralyn [A special Mom]
R.I.P. Jermaine [Jan 21, 1976 - May 25, 2013]

Sheralyn picked out this song "Agnus Dei" by Michael W. Smith to be played as the service ended:

Tutti-Oh, What a Relief It Is

This is a Tales repeat post, that was first published in 2012.

A great feature of a Houston Symphony concert at Jones Hall is the pre-concert lecture they have called "prelude", which occurs about 45 minutes before each concert.  The speaker gives out wonderful information about the concert we are about to hear-about the music and about the composers.  I have learned much about classical music from these talks. I learned a new term from last Saturday's [January 21, 2012] prelude: tutti.

Tutti literally means all together [implying the whole symphony orchestra].  In a concerto, where there is a soloist and the orchestra, tutti passages are those passages where the orchestra plays while the soloist is silent.  Tutti passages can be very helpful to the soloist in a long concerto giving the soloist a brief break. 

Sergei Rachmaninoff [1873-1943]
We were told that the Rachmaninoff piano concerto #3, known as the Rach 3, is considered one of, if not the most difficult piano concertos ever composed.  It is so difficult not just because of the physical playing involving so many large chords and technically difficult passages, but also because there are very few tutti passages in the concerto.  It is almost continuous piano playing without a break for the soloist for very long stretches.

I did a post earlier on cadenzas where [usually near the end of the first movement and sometimes third movement of a concerto] the orchestra stops playing and is silent while the soloist gets to show off his virtuosity.  So, while cadenzas are meant to demonstrate the skills of the soloist, tuttis, when the orchestra plays while the soloist is silent, are sometimes helpful in giving the soloist relief in a physically demanding concerto.

Let's look at the aforementioned piano concerto by the great Russian Romantic composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.  You will see in this 14 minute plus finale, Alla breve, that except for a tutti passage that goes from 2:40-3:13 of this video and one from 9:00-9:22, it is continuous piano playing [and you will see that it is physically demanding continuous piano playing].  With this technical and physically demanding concerto, I'm sure the soloist appreciates those two tutti passages for some brief relief.

Because there are so few breaks for the pianist in the Alla Breve movement, the two tuttis that the pianist does have must have the soloist thinking to himself when the tuttis do come, "Oh, what a relief it is."  

Please turn up the volume and watch in full screen this great display of virtuosity by the soloist in the final movement of one of the greatest piano concertos in the repertoire, the "Rach 3".

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #3 in D minor, Movement 3, Alla breve:

Now an added bonus video of a concerto where I will let you see if you can pick out the tutti passages on your own; those passages where the orchestra is playing without the soloist.  I will stick with the Rachmaninoff theme by having the ultra beautiful final movement of Rahmaninoff's second piano concerto.  I'll give you the first tutti--the opening of the movement that lasts for about 20 seconds before the soloist enters the fray, and the second tutti from 1:47-2:19.  Now let's see if you can pick out the other tuttis. 

Again please turn up the volume and enjoy this melodic filled piano concerto, with one of my favorite pianist, Yuja Wang, as the soloist. 

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #2 in C-minor, Movement 3, Allegro Scherzando: