Archive for December, 2014

It’s an odd but fitting expression. I don’t like to think of getting rid of the old. The old is already a part of us. It’s there. There is no getting rid of it. However, in with the new says let’s be open to new things, move forward.

I suppose we need markers for beginnings and ends and January 1st acts as just that. According to Google and Wikipedia, January 1st became the official start of a new year in 153 BC. Now we celebrate the new year with popping open champagne, throwing confetti and a lot of promises to ourselves and others about things we are going to change.

DCF 1.0

Wouldn’t it be grand if everyone in the entire world made a new year resolution to be kind to one another, thoughtful about our world and our environment, to make love not war, give to others, and take time to appreciate? Sounds idealistic, unrealistic even corny, but wouldn’t it be grand?


Love Madison


Hello and happy last Monday of 2014!

Today I am drinking a nice hot cup of latte sprinkled with cinnamon.  Yes, I’ve been in festive mode since last week, and I’m loving it.   The weather is just perfect to stay at home with loved ones, play games, cook, eat, entertain, and repeat.  How are your holidays so far?

For this last Music Monday of 2014, I wanted to share with you this number by Lana del Rey.  I just love her striking voice, don’t you?

As Amazon describes it, “Lana Del Rey’s vintage pop was well channeled on this number, the first track off her album ‘Ultraviolence.’  Eschewing the dark, fatalistic aesthetic of her previous singles, “West Coast” glimmers with sunlight as the singer’s breathy voice spins a romantic, moody tale over a hypnotic beat.  It’s wistful and compelling, bolstered by its accompanying black and white video of California’s throwback glamour.”

I wish you a very happy holiday week!


Twas the night before the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except…Me! Laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, food prep…but all in good fun and with the spirit of Christmas.

As people hustle and bustle carrying armloads of parcels to and fro and holiday lights twinkle through sheets of rain, I am cozied up in my apartment with Bing crooning about a White Christmas and the smell of pine boughs filling the space. Memories of Christmases past flood in; unwrapping glass ornaments, each with a story from years past, then decorating a fresh cut tree, the smell of pine needles everywhere. Mulled wine and spiced apple cider, carols playing in the background, gingerbread baking in the oven, reading books by the fireplace, excitement.

What ever it is we celebrate this and any time of year, it is the memories. Hold on to them, make new ones of your own, cherish the old ones, and tell the loved ones around you how important they are in your life. Tis the Season. Remember it all year long.

Happy Holidays!

Joe Cocker Performs In Rome. Photo: Ernesto Ruscio, Getty Images

Joe Cocker Performs In Rome. Photo: Ernesto Ruscio, Getty Images

Thank you for all the blues, Joe Cocker!

“Though he came of age musically as a member of the Woodstock generation, Joe Cocker is one of the last of the great rock interpreters. He remains most famous for what he did with others’ words, even in an era that prized songwriting more than singing.  And so, any list of top Joe Cocker songs necessarily includes tunes written by others.

But Cocker chose well — there are catalog items here from the Beatles, Ray Charles, Billy Preston, the Animals and Traffic, among others — and then he often had the guts to radically rework them.  Add in his famous gravel-gargling vocals, not to mention a few foot-stampingly loose jams from a series of ace sidemen, and Joe Cocker’s audacious updates often actually superseded even the celebrated originals.”

Today I leave you with one of my Joe Cocker’s favorites, “You can leave your hat on”… You are invited to sing and dance along…

Baby, take off your coat…real slow
Baby, take off your shoes…here, I’ll take your shoes
Baby, take off your dress
Yes, yes, yes
You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on

Go on over there and turn on the light…no, all the lights
Now come back here and stand on this chair…that’s right
Raise your arms up in to the air…shake ’em
You give me a reason to live
You give me a reason to live
You give me a reason to live

Suspicious minds are talking
Trying to tear us apart
They say that my love is wrong
They don’t know what love is
They don’t know what love is
They don’t know what love is
They don’t know what love is
I know what love is

See Top 10 Joe Cocker Songs here.


L - Christmas tree and obelisk

As we inch closer to the end of the year and all the celebration and reflection that affords, we decorate our beloved Christmas trees and bask in their warm nostalgia. 

The notion of Christ-mass or the ‘mass of christ’ entered our culture from the Roman Catholic church, but where did they get it from?  It is popular knowledge that in the 4th century, the Romans needed more citizens to expand their empire –  so they looked to the pagans.  Considered barbaric, the year-end customs of the pagans all gravitated towards Christmas.

Christmas-tree-ashur The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1911 states that “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals on the Church…the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt”.  What’s more, “it is only sinners who make  great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world”.  By the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol – the sun god.  It was outlawed in all 13 colonies of early America, because of these Pagan roots.

And even though the bible is pretty silent about Christmas, it sure has some nasty things to say about the Christmas tree.

 Jeremiah 10:2-6: “Learn not the way of the heathen…for the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers…”url

The idea of a holy tree comes from the worship of Asherah – a goddess ~ the ‘Queen of Heaven’, who was also called ‘Artemis’.  The earthly image of Asherah was a tree used by the Canaanites and Phoenicians.  The figurine on the right is another early representation.  When this area of northern Israel was displaced in 722 BCE, they brought this ‘tree’ custom with them. The lost tribes of Israel have at least managed to preserve their most cherished custom: the Christmas tree…it has been celebrated for 5000 years, it simply has a new name today.

The tree itself represents a phallus; the ornaments, testicles; and the tinsel, semen; the wreath is a vagina, and together they are obvious fertility symbols.  The Romans used ‘womb-wreaths’ at Saturnalia – the winter festival.  People continue to set their hearts on what is “under the tree”, and in at least 10 places in the bible about something happening “under the tree”.

In the ancient world, Pagans went to their temples to worship their fertility gods, and had ritual sex with each other at the temple.  The Pagan temples had an “image”, usually an obelisk, standing near the entrance.

If you missed the History of Sex article: How about a little architecture sex? – you can look back and learn a little more about how buildings around the world are getting it on.