Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK and Benny Goodman...

In honor of MLK Day, we at " what we give." would like to pay tribute to a bandleader who hired musicians based on their ability rather than their color.

In 1935, Benny Goodman hired Teddy Wilson, a jazz pianist, to join him and Gene Krupa (drummer extraordinaire) as the Benny Goodman Trio. This made Wilson the first black musician to perform in public in a previously all-white orchestra. Soon after, Goodman invited Lionel Hampton (vibraphonist--cool, huh?) to join his Trio (thereby making it a Quartet, because if there was one thing a good bandleader could do, it was count!).

Hampton is quoted as saying this about Goodman:
"As far as I'm concerned, what he did in those days—and they were hard days, in 1937—made it possible for Negroes to have their chance in baseball and other fields."

Here is the Quartet in 1937. You'll swear that Wilson's hands are computer enhanced versions of the real thing, sped up to look that fast! Man, those cats could play!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Talk about the weather

At the risk of drawing the ire of friends who live in much colder parts of the world, I have to mention that the weather here has been a hot topic, so to speak, the last week or so. Today the temperature might eke past 49 to 50, which will seem balmy after so many days of 44 degrees for a HIGH. At night we've had lows of 22 in some places--night after night. Yes, I know this is nothing compared to a summer's day in Scotland, but this is Charleston, SC, not Charleston, WV, and we just don't live like this. Most of us don't even own a real coat, much less thermal longjohns or an ice scraper. This is serious, people. We're running out of cotton sweaters to wear layered over cotton t-shirts under our cotton hoody sweatshirts! This can't be the sort of weather that people retire here to experience, and judging from what I hear from my transplanted Yankee friends, it's worse when you don't expect it. To either add insult to injury or icing to the cake, depending on your perspective, there is a chance that it will SNOW tonight and tomorrow morning.

All these days in the 40's put me in mind of days in the '40's (1940's, of course), so to warm up your day, wherever you are and whatever the weather, here's a hot little number, written by my favorite composer of such tunes, Irving Berlin, and masterfully played by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. Ah, the days when music was music and musicians were snappily dressed! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Today is Epiphany, the day the Wise Men visited the Christ Child and threw out all the leftover Christmas cookies and candy. They also brought expensive and extravagant gifts to honor the newborn King, but we would never have known about their visit if they had not been so instrumental in helping Mary stick to her New Year's diet resolution. Being Wise, they looked around at all the sweets and said, "Thou ought to consume less sugar, then thou wilt have more energy to look after thine household." And their sage advice left such an impression on Mary that their visit got moved to the top of the list in her guest book, ensuring that it would be remembered for ages to come.

So, join with me, won't you, and get rid of the leftover sugar cookies, the fudge, the chocolate cherry marvels, and that last little heal of banana bread that has been sitting on the kitchen counter getting the slightest bit moldy. You'll be glad you did and your friends and family will recognize your wisdom, handed down through the generations from the Magi. If, on the off chance that your family misunderstands your efforts of sagacity, just tell them what day it is and that this is how Epiphany should be celebrated. And let me know if that works!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A New Year

Something about the turning of the calendar makes me, despite my best efforts to the contrary, no doubt stemming from a deep-seated desire to not always be doing what everyone else is doing, want to make new goals, dream new dreams, and even be randomly optimistic. It is true that a calendar is just a calendar (unless of course your cats gave you one like my cats gave me for Christmas: World War II: A Day-by-Day History) and for the most part, one day is as good as any other for starting fresh. This year, though, I have decided to make an actual List and maybe even stick to it. Who knows, this being the start of a new decade as well as a new year, maybe there will be something magical about the goals we set.

So, in no particular order and without further ado, my

New Year's Resolutions for 2010
1) Read more.
2) Write more.
3) Know that #'s 1 and 2 do not refer in any way to Facebook.
4) Write more knitting patterns.
5) Revise my NaNoWriMo 2009 novel.
6) Eat at Qdoba (aka Home of the Best Guacamole I Have Ever Eaten) more often. This is the sort of resolution that comes directly from eating at Qdoba on New Year's Day and wondering why I do it so infrequently. I decided that if I did eat there more often, I could pull myself out of my food rut (Cheese Quesadilla with Pico de gallo, please) and actually try something else on the menu. It's about more than just the food--it's about getting out of ruts.
7) Take more long walks. Necessary to work off the extra Mexican food!
8) Cut myself more slack.

There you have it--eight little goals that hopefully will make 2010 a better year and maybe even get the new decade started off on the right foot. Happy New Year, Everyone!