In the room the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo
You don't really find out why a poet is great when you study him in the classroom. You find reasons. You make notes about what others have said. You take your tests, you pass them, you get your degrees. But you do not understand why a poet like T. S. Eliot is great until you need his poems. Until life has taken you to a place where you can see the waste(land) laid before you and really need the tracks left behind by someone who has passed this way before. Thank you, Mr. Eliot, for Four Quartets, The Waste Land, and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Thank you for taking on Hamlet and coming up with the term, "objective correlative." And for understanding that your own prim nasal-sounding voice might not be the best for reading the great poetry that wrote itself through you. That's why I'm celebrating your birth today (9/26/1888) and your work by having Anthony Hopkins and Fiona Shaw recite two of your best ones for you.
Here's Fiona Shaw first, reciting The Waste Land from memory. It's as if I never heard this poem before - nor understood it either. (If you have an iPad, you can download Part 2 of this.)
Now, here is Anthony Hopkins reciting Prufrock. Sublime.
George Gershwin -
Still Amazing after All These Years
The philosopher Schopenhauer once said, "All the arts aspire to the condition of music." And you feel all of them in Gershwin's music - painting, poetry, dance, sculpture and architecture too. To mark the day when George arrived on the planet (9/26/1898), here is the opening to Woody Allen's, Manhattan, a montage that demands to be shown with Rhapsody in Blue as the soundtrack.
And Then There's Serena Williams
In a Class of Her Own.
Here's the birthday girl with David Letterman shortly before winning her fifth U.S. Open championship.
I like big books, and I cannot lie. My background includes talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy. I've won awards for my journalism and my fiction. One of my essays even made it into an anthology for college English courses. For real? Yes, for real.
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