Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cunningham Piano Company

There are still things that I am passionate about and one of them is pianos.  I have been fortunate enough to have visited many modern piano restoration shops which form the current heart and soul of the business.  I actively promote the businesses that I have actually visited.  One that I have not yet visited nevertheless deserves my consideration and yours if you are in the market for a good piano.  Rich Galassini of Cunningham, who I have communicated with through the Piano World Piano Forums and via e-mail and by phone, just sent me a link to this excellent little video up on YouTube which describes his business.  I think he needs to do another spotlighting the unique qualities of his line of Cunningham pianos.  In its day the original Cunningham piano was one of the finest ever made and this is no doubt still the case.  I believe we should all be glad that some great enterprises have managed to survive into our own time and continue to represent what is finest in the art of the piano.  I have placed more links to this company on the Sources for Good Pianos page.        

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lea's Story - Update

UPDATED 10/9/15
Lea's Story Original Post

This pic is of a piece of paper Lea had typed for her, which explains the crux of her story.

She had a daughter (now grown to adulthood) who grew up with some people, the Skinners in Chico, California. These people sued Lea for back child support and the court fixed it as $500 per month which she could not afford. Lea is mentally and linguistically dyslexic. She can drive a vehicle but can't get her thoughts in order or write anything coherent. Besides this, her right shoulder was badly injured and re-injured by police who threw her out of a public building where she went to get help, so now she can only write with her left hand and she's right handed. The only thing she could do was sell olive oil at a flea market / farmers' market. 

There are lots of people out there like Lea whom society would like to ignore because our mainstream media focus -including on the internet- is on the successful and rich not the poor and barely making it. So since she could not pay the required child support, the court took her drivers' license away! Does this make any sense? Of course not. So where does she live with the seasons changing and in need of warmth? In an abandoned school bus! Oh, it can still run maybe, but who knows? Where? In Oregon somewhere near Eugene.

Has she been able to resolve this? Not for at least 8 years! She has been without a drivers license for 4 of those years. She has asked the Skinners to withdraw their suit, but for whatever reasons, they have decided not to do so. Obviously, she needs her drivers' license back. How can anyone be expected to make any kind of back payments when they are nearly 65 and not capable of holding the simplest regular job and now are not able to drive? The system has clearly failed people like Lea and now society at large is led to believe that the Leas of this world should just ... go off somewhere and die quietly and not bother anyone else, etc. ... unless of course they are able to do the impossible, pay what they cannot even earn. How many people are eventually going to end up just like Lea?

If one were established, people like Lea could get help in a real alternative money system. How would Lea's life be different if she could survive without their money? She would get a subsistence that her friends and neighbours in Oregon deemed appropriate for her and she could live somewhere other than out of an abandoned bus. We know that Lea is actually lucky. Other people caught in the system may be homeless living under bridges, hungry living out of restaurant or grocery store dumpsters (if they haven't deliberately poisoned them with bleach, etc.) and of course they are unemployable in today's globalist nightmare.

But our concern is with Lea. The Skinners should know better and must withdraw their suit. Lea should be given her drivers' license back right now! She is probably entitled to many state and federal grants in aid, but guess what folks, she is basically too proud and self reliant to want any of that from them! How many out there are like her? All they have left is their self-respect.  But she needs the help or she'll just ... die. Is that the message? If you have nothing left but your self respect, are you to fork over even that to a state so that you must live at their mercy for the rest of your life? It certainly looks like it. Is that freedom? Is that dignified? Do those who actually work for their living actually live lives of freedom or dignity? Just what is this country (or any of the advanced nations on earth) based on anyway? We know: They're based on money loaned at interest, the interest having never been created, and yet people live passively with this con game and some even do well at it; those who accept the cons and are better at conning others than most. Rewarded for conning others makes more money than just buying and selling olive oil at some flea market / farmers' market. A system designed and built by racketeers that has taken over the entire financial world has no concern for a poor woman like Lea.

At this point we are calling on all and anyone concerned (especially in Oregon and Northern California) to take up Lea's Story and spread it all over the internet, into any and every alternative news channel available until Lea gets her license back and is able to get this case dropped. She deserves that much. Anyone wishing to try and make contact with Lea can do so through me.

David Burton

PS from Lea:  "
Two days before the deadline to have my vehicle moved, it all fell apart. Well by Saturday night (only one day after the deadline) I scrambled and got it moved into Eugene to a safe but temporary spot. Boy oh boy what stress can do -- I slept all day Sunday! Having no drivers license just makes life ridiculous what is the point." 

[10/9/15: Well, I really relate to Lea's story, Two weeks after I had been in the hospital with a blood transfusion of 5 units of blood, I had an internal bleeding problem that was not diagnosed for years. I was just out of a week long stay at the hospital, where I was given an endoscopy and also had to swallow a huge pill with a camera that took pictures as it went down called a capsolosopy. I was very weak. This had been my second one of these pill swallowing deals and my 6th time for a blood transfusion. Extreme anaemia was common for me then. I had white skin, no energy, lack of breath because oxygen is carried in the blood. I felt like I would fall over, pass out or just have a heart attack, I spent most of my time in bed. I was not able to work. I prayed for relief. The month previously, I had sold my gold wedding ring to a pawn shop for rent, and I did some ebay, and as a substitute teacher I had to leave a post due to this deep illness. I was barely dragging myself around, my meals were cans of food I'd gotten at the local free food center for the poor.

I could hardly shift my truck into gear and drive, and could not walk far, I lacked strength. Finally at night, late, around 9:30 pm, my landlord knocks on the door of my run down apartment behind a restaurant with a 3 day decease order, for me to get out in 3 days or he had the right to have policeman drag my stuff out and put it in the street. I called on friends to help me get my stuff into a storage unit where it remained for over a year. This meant that I was stuck with the few clothes I had with me and the rest were lost in storage.

I found enough money through odd jobs like pet sitting to pay for my storage rent. I lived in my truck, and at friends' houses, moving from place to place until some friends took pity on me and lent me their extra room until I could figure out my problem, which were far beyond, my ability to predict. I was a walking dead, lying down, and barely making a dent on the day. Sometimes I would feel better, I would go about finding ways to bring in money, play my violin for tips, collect cans, take some of my things to flea markets, and maybe sell something on ebay here and there.

I was 59 years old when I finally applied for Social Security Disability and it took 9 months of waiting going through hoops and also being taken to the hospital for 2 more blood transfusions during that 8 month stay with my friends. Once while in the hospital the 6th time for another transfusion, the doctor told me that soon my body would begin to reject blood I'd been given and that would probably end this. I believe that it was already beginning to happen as each time I got a transfusion it was longer and longer of a time that I would feel like myself again, my own system was too strained for building red blood cells and my very bone marrow would ache it was so painful, something no one could understand how badly I ached, it hurt to be this ill. I took vitamins and iron tablets, but something inside was really wrong. I had 2 while staying with my friends. I can't imagine what might have happened to me if I had to live in my truck during those months.

Finally, because of surrendering to my situation, many of us deny that we have fallen so far, Pride is often part of why people get into such disparate situations. asking for Social Security Disability and excepting my position of neediness was difficult. I had after all worked hard for a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership, so why couldn't I think my way out of homelessness? And now how would I ever pay my education loans? I was stressed about it all. How would I pay for anything? Due to friendships, where I was very blessed and the Grace of God, I survived this.

I was given disability, and I was given Medicare, and once that was in place they found that I had an esophageal hiatal hernia where my stomach was lodged behind my heart, gaping open. It caused great acid erosion, ulcers and every time I moved, bent over, picked up anything, or exercised, I would bleed internally. This happened to me between the years 2007 thru 2013, when I finally had robotic surgery and they pulled the stomach back to were it belongs. They also took out my gull bladder then. I don't earn much with SSD but enough to just make it through, I also earn money by pet sitting and buying and selling antiques and collectibles, I also make tip money from playing my violin as well and being a penny pincher.

Because of all that, I am in debt up to my ears. Like Lea, I couldn't be without a car or a drivers license. I used my credit to get a huge car loan so I can drive a nice car. Before that, I was driving a dangerous van that leaked gas and made me sick every time I drove it. I also know if I needed to, I could live out of my car, which was another reason I bought it. The huge amount of money I spent on a credit card to keep that terrible van running! It seemed so dangerous and I felt that buying a used car on credit made sense, as I needed to save money on gasoline, and not get stuck somewhere. How in the world I had all this credit I don't really know, it seems clearly a direct answer to prayer, at least I could have my van fixed, unlike Lea.

I want to say that my circumstances might have been far worse if not for good friendships and people who cared about me. My sisters and brother were also very helpful in taking care of me during those really bad times.

After my stomach surgery had healed, my doctor informed me that I needed another major surgery, that would be difficult, for I had a pre-cancerous condition so absolutely it was needed. It's been two years now since my EHH surgery and a year since my cervical precancerous surgery. I am now fairly healthy but am working as much as possible to get my bills in order, make more money, lose the huge weight gain from these years of illness, my twisted aching and painful back from scoliosis slows my pace. But I am so grateful to live in a small studio cabin in the woods.

There are many more people out there like Lea, who for some reason or other have lost their position in the world or were never smart enough to make the grade. There are many who choose to live on the streets. There are many who, due to drugs and alcohol and other bad choices, are living in their cars or under bridges or away in the woods. With the mass of Baby Boomers retiring, there will be many more stories about people who just never worked enough or didn't make any plans for their elder years, or who lost everything too late to rebuild, people whom the general public will have to help, deal with or ignore. I hope that you will not judge everyone you see. Many have had hardships that you might never had endured. Most don't want pity, they just need your mercy, a small act of kindness.

Most of us want to make our own way in the world, some of us just have such big obstacles.]

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Eva Marie Cassidy (1963-1996)

Yes.  Eva Marie Cassidy (1963-1996).  As had Franz Schubert, she died so young

Some out there may suppose that my heart and soul so belong to “classical” music that I wouldn't be impressed with much else. Well, that sentiment is for those without sufficient experience in music and they'd certainly be missing a lot. There are people in this world who came and went and this is one of them; an artist of significance and greatness that you probably didn't know even existed. What we have left of her, every last track she recorded, are likely to become as important to the very art of music itself than they were when she was alive and actually sang them.  In a period where the music tended to be anything but beautiful, she was a bright light.  Think of a song sung by Eva Cassidy as one might think of getting to see a real Vermeer: an apt metaphor for her impressive accomplishments.

YouTube features many of Eva Cassidy's songs. Here are a few excellent titles:

I Know You By Heart
Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Early Morning Rain
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
It Doesn't Matter Anymore
What A Wonderful World
You've Changed
Danny Boy
Fields of Gold
Time After Time
True Colors
You Take My Breath Away
Early One Morning
Dark Eyed Molly
Still Not Ready For Good Times
Look In My Eyes
If I Give My Heart

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lea's Story

they took my license fer not bein' able to pay child support because i am disabled 'n they didn't take that into account ---- i have been desperately tryin to get this mistake fixed fer 8 yrs now (4 yrs w/out dr license) ---- i was livin' in my vehicle and traveled to fairs 'n festivals fer my work --- now i am homeless w/ NO income and am supported by taxpayers money.”

I've left these words exactly as she wrote them. There will be more to this story as it is an ongoing saga, one of countless tens of thousands out there because not everyone can or will fit into some cookie cutter system devised by the few at the top to keep the rest of us in line so that they can ... rule over us. This woman is significantly disabled but the “authorities” in her state (OREGON) seem oblivious to this fact and have demanded that she pay up or she's lost her drivers' license, so she can't even go anywhere to get any money to pay them. This is STUPIDITY and must be exposed!

Please send the link to this story far and wide: make it go viral!

[UPDATE 8/30/15: "i met w/ child support DA this wk (w/ my advocate) to discuss makin' a real pmt agreement ----- the only agreement she will offer is the one agreein' to pay any amt fer first 6 mos. and then start full monthly pmts EVERY month ---- after 8 years of tryin' to come up w/ this and all the testin' 'n documentin' she KNOWS i have no way of gettin' that amount of money on a monthly basis ---- so she still holds my driver's license ---"

This is clearly an infamous extortion technique recognized by tens of thousands of people out there who have also been so affected.  Please spread this story widely and if you happen to live in Oregon, please send whatever short letters of complaint to get this STUPID and UNREASONABLE demand removed from this poor elderly woman and have her drivers' license restored so she can at least TRY and make a living!]


Monday, August 17, 2015

Why Fasting Bolsters Brain Power: Mark Mattson at TEDx JohnsHopkins University

Why Fasting Bolsters Brain Power: Mark Mattson at TEDx JohnsHopkins University
Published on Mar 18, 2014

Mark Mattson is the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University. Mattson is one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

[My decision to post this video and subsequent notes should not imply or infer that I personally agree with anything and everything that issues forth under the TED banner.] 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chopin Nocturnes Complete - Brigitte Engerer

How was it possible for the world to have ignored Brigitte Engerer? Born in 1952 and passed in 2012 and what a legacy! Listen to these flawless performances of the most beloved works of Chopin. She plays them exactly as we'd all wish to play them, makes it all sound easy and elegant and graceful and magical and wonderful. The piano she used was in spectacular prep to get some of the subtle effects she elicits, especially in the many famous pianissimo moments. Enjoy!

Chopin Mazurkas Complete

 Chris Breemer has done us the estimable favour of placing his performances of the complete cycle of Mazurkas by Frédéric Chopin. A great thank-you goes out to him. We'd heartily encourage more accomplished pianists to do the same with other series in the great classical piano literature so that more of us could get their sense of the sweep of the music through each composer's particular progress through their creative journeys. The Mazurkas are among Chopin's most idiomatic compositions, some of them contain the most strikingly modern of his style elements. Emjoy!