Dancing With the Stars Motown night is a winner!


Smokey Robinson and The Temptations were featured guests. They brought me back to the good old days. They alternated singing their famous songs while couples danced. They both sounded just the way I remember them. I felt 16. How about you?

Gladys Knight did a competent job. She has real class, and this is the best she’s done. You could tell she was remembering that she is a star!

I thought Roshon Fegan did a classy job, but the judges didn’t agree. What do they want? Geez!

Maria Menounos She’s a terrific dancer and lived up to her other dances tonight. The judges liked her too.

Katherine Jenkins  did an expert job. Almost a triple score. She looked perfect. I’m starting to be so jealous of her. Beauty and grace. It’s just not fair. Oh, and she’s an opera singer too.

Don Driver Don kept his shirt on this week. Surprise! This guy looks great when he dances. Len gave him a big compliment. He told him he “exploded.” Len sees him as becoming a great dancer. Apparently, he doesn’t follow football, and doesn’t know he already picked a career. Don is frustrated because Len hasn’t given him a 10 yet!

Melissa Gilbert did a  Viennese Waltz. Half-pint looked glamorous and beautiful in her green gown. I thought she danced beautifully. She looks like she’s got a thing for Maks. Bruno thought she has a thing for Maks too. Who wouldn’t? They gave her 8’s. One of them should’ve given them a 9. Give me a break.

Jaleel White  did a Cha Cha Jaleel and was in his element. He reminded me of the old Erkel. He was sharp and precise. He showed what a great dancer he is. I hardly noticed Kim this time, and she’s a terrific dancer. Len said, “You’re back.” Bruno “Biggest sizzler of the season” Carrie Ann” A Game. Jaleel’s mom was all excited.

William levy  Smoky Robinson sang. Levy did a Rhumba. OMG this guy looks fabulous just standing still. He did a lot of shaking and gyrating. Not the best dance moves.

Carrie Ann said, ” On Behalf of all the women, thank you, but not enough dancing” Len said, “ On the raunchy side.” All right! I agree with Len and Carrie Ann.I suspect Bruno is a little in love with Levy. Who can blame him? 

Smokin' (Smokey Robinson album)

Smokin' (Smokey Robinson album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia

Smoky Robinson sang “Tears of a Clown.” Two pros did a great dance to it.

All the dancers did a Cha-Cha Motown dance marathon They were all very entertaining in their colorful costumes, and sexy moves. Gladys and Tristan were the first to go! Boo, age discrimination. William Levy came in next to last. He moved his feet this time, and even slid across the floor! Katherine and Mark won.  They earned 10 points.

Dancing With the Stars is the most entertaining show on TV. Agree or disagree. I’d appreciate your comments.

Find out about surviving musicians of the Holocaust: Another Yom Hashoa story


On November 15, 1936, a statue of Felix Mendelssohn, a famous Jewish composer, was destroyed in Leipzig, Germany.This signaled the beginning of discrimination against Jewish musicians in Nazi Germany.

After that, the music of Jewish musicians and composers was no longer heard in concert halls and opera houses. However, the musicians weren’t completely silenced. They were forced to play music in ghettos, concentration camps, and for the Nazis’ special private events.

Imagine being forced to flawlessly play music while your enemies were marching your relatives and friends to the gas chambers. In Auschwitz alone, there were six orchestras.

Theresienstadt―Terezin was a camp in Czechoslovakia, where musicians, including children, were deported. Although they were starving and desolate, they could forget about their misery for seconds at a time ― while singing, playing instruments, performing, and composing music. The Nazis used these camps for propaganda purposes.

Representatives of the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross were fooled when they inspected the camp in 1944. Gardens had been planted, and the barracks renovated. They watched a children’s opera. They didn’t know that many of the residents had been deported to Auschwitz to be killed.

Although the Holocaust ended years ago, unbelievably, there are still a handful of these musicians still alive.These survivors are being documented by a notable Israeli composer, Dr. Nurit Jugend.

She’s composed over thirty works, and orchestras all over the world have played her musical compositions. This includes the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta.

She is a lecturer at Stanford University and all over the world. Not only is she asking the musicians about their lives, but she is reuniting some of them after years of separation. She has also interviewed their children and grandchildren. She wants to document their stories before they are gone.

Recently I got the opportunity to speak with Dr. Nurit Jugend about this project. She was very forthcoming about what she’s learned from the participants, and why it is so important to get this project completed. What follows are some excerpts from our interview:

Q.What motivated a busy composer to make a film about the Holocaust?

A. My initial research about music during the Holocaust led me to the survivors and their stories. I immediately knew that I had to capture them on film before it was too late, and this opened the door to documentary film making.

Q. What did you want to find out when you started this project?

A. I knew that works had been composed during this period of time in the ghettos and the camps. I wondered what kind of music was being composed. How had it sounded? How did people under such circumstances such as sickness and death survive? How did they find it in themselves?

Q. What impressed you most about the survivors that you’ve met?

A. I was impressed with how they found some joy from music during the Holocaust as they were forced to play for the Nazis. I expected these people to reject music because it was forced from them. I was really surprised that none of the people I interviewed lost their love, passion or need for music.

Quite the opposite, they believe it saved their lives. It had an emotional meaning. These people are full of hope, able to look at life and see the beauty and the joy

Q .Can you tell me something about your experiences with the survivors?

A. One of the survivors Alex Tamir, who lives in Jerusalem, did contribute feelings of particular intimacy and deep excitement due, to his unique creativity of the song “Ponar” (shtilar shtilar) when he was 11 years old in ghetto Vilna. …A beautiful, quite difficult and melancholic song which became the hymn and song of hope and spiritual resistance among Jews in the ghettos and the Jewish brigade. It spread from camp to camp and became very well-known, ….I was very moved to learn that the person who wrote this song is still alive and meeting with him in person was one of the most memorable days I’ve spent in my life at his home in Jerusalem.

Q.How have some of the survivor’s used their experience from the Holocaust in a positive way?

A. Chaim plays the accordion, talks about his experiences, and goes to high schools and plays them the music he played during that period of time. Greta played one of the leading roles in an opera at Terezin when she was a child. She talks to children and tells them what it was like to experience the Holocaust as a child. Anita, a cellist, toured Europe, especially in Germany. She told about her experience as a musician in Auschwitz. They used music as a means to educate the world about the Holocaust. I do interview their children and grandchildren. Survivors do talk about music making in the family. I believe that making music in these families is a way to communicate about their experience. Many of the survivors insisted on teaching their children the music they played during the Holocaust.

Q. What do you want to accomplish with this documentary?

A. I want to raise questions. I want to look at the Holocaust through a different perspective. I want to talk about music making and what role that had in the concentration camps and ghettos. I want the film to come from a more uplifting and positive place. For these musicians, music was able to provide physical need and emotional escape. It saved their lives.

The film’s mission is to educate future generations about the Holocaust and strive for more tolerance and acceptance among people worldwide. Their stories have not all been recorded yet. We are running out of time. Soon, they will all be gone. I want to find them, identify them, make sure they’re still capable of telling their stories.

To find out more about this project, look at the website: http://www.theyplayedfortheirlives.com. You can donate money to help this project.

It is a special way to commemorate all the musicians who died during the Holocaust, especially during this month of April, the month of Yom Hashoa, when we remember the Holocaust victims.

RIP Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins)


Barnabas Collins

Barnabas Collins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jonathan Frid died on Friday from natural causes.   I was really surprised when I read that he was 87.  It seems like only a few years ago that I was watching him play Barnabas Collins in the soap opera, Dark Shadows

His age shouldn’t surprise me because I watched it when I was 16, and the name of this blog is Joy at 60.  Time really is fleeting.   

I’d heard a new movie of Dark shadows was coming out in May, and I was really looking forward to it’s premiere. I think Johnny Depp will make a perfect Barnabas Collins.  He is one of the few actors I enjoy watching because he seems to know he’s acting, not playing himself.  I thought he made a terrific Edward Scissorhands.

I used to come home from high school, and watch Dark Shadows at 4:00. (Why I remember that, I couldn’t tell you.)  The acting was over the top, but that’s one of the things I liked about it.

The best vampire of all was Jonathan Frid, Barnabas Collins.  He started out a bad vampire, but he did some things to help people too. He was regretful about being a vampire—he felt a little pang of guilt every time he had to turn a human into a vampire by biting their necks and drinking their blood

He was the vampire you loved to hate, but then loved again. He bit a series of necks. I lost interest after a few years.  The series ran until 1971. It seemed to be too much of the same thing. They also waved a lot of crosses around, so the unlucky vampire couldn’t come out  of his wooden casket and turn other hapless live human beings into vampires.

Frid was an accomplished stage actor before he took on the role of Barnabas Collins, but he was best known for his vampire role. He made a movie, and a nice living representing Barnabas at  Dark Shadow events.

I thought the Twilight series was a bit of a rip off of Dark Shadows but I only attended one movie, and haven’t read the books yet.

The producers of the new Dark Shadows movie must appreciate the timing of his death. It’s due to come out in May, and  Frid has a small cameo in it. Now, I really want to see the movie. I have a feeling I’ll be waiting in line with all the other Baby Boomers.

Did you watch Dark Shadows? What do you remember about it?

In honor of Yom Hashoa, a story of survival and triumph


Sundown marks the beginning of Yom HaShoah (Ho...

Sundown marks the beginning of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) in Israel as flags are at half-mast. Français : Drapeaux en berne le soir de Yom HaShoah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yom Hashoa is a day where we commemorate Holocaust survivors. It usually occurs around April.

Here the story of a woman, Fran, who went through the Holocaust, but didn’t let it defeat her.

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, has a special meaning for a vibrant woman. Her childhood was spent hiding from the Nazis during WWII.

Today, Fran leads a fulfilling life. This busy wife, mother, and grandmother has a busy career in sales.  In addition, she finds time to do volunteer work.

Fran remembers living in France during World War II. She lived with her parents, and sister, Gloria, in a two bedroom apartment. “I remember the apartment. My mother was always amazed at how much I could remember, but they were not good memories,” said Fran.

When Fran was a small child, there was a knock at their door in the middle of the night.  She remembers her father being taken away by French citizens sympathetic to the Nazis. She never saw him again. Many years later, she discovered that he died in Auschwitz, a German Concentration Camp.

At first, the men were the only ones taken away. No one believed that people would arrest and kill women and children too.

Fran’s mother hoped that they could continue living in their home. Several days after her father was taken, they returned to the apartment. “It was padlocked. All our possessions were gone,”  said Fran.

The two sisters, and her mother moved in with a Jewish friend, Berthe, who lived on the other side of Paris with her son, Armand.

Fortunately, there were non-Jewish  people who were willing to risk their lives for them.  The landlady of an apartment building distracted some soldiers when the family was hiding in a closet.  A neighbor pretended the children were his own, so they wouldn’t be taken away by Nazis.

Fran remembers her mother reassuring them. “She never wanted us to be frightened,” said Fran.

Soon, things became so dangerous that Fran’s mother hid in the forest with others. The girls were placed in non-Jewish homes in the French countryside. Fran remembers her mother trying to see the girls at night. Sometimes, she would give the foster families a little money so the girls could have more food to eat. “We sometimes lived on one or two pieces of bread a day,” Fran recalled.

As a result of poor living conditions,  Fran contracted childhood tuberculosis. She stayed in a TB sanitarium run by Catholic nuns. “The nuns were wonderful to me,” Fran said. Consequently, Fran adopted Catholicism into her life.

The war wasn’t officially  over for Fran until the family was reunited, and moved back to their two room apartment.

Fran wanted to attend church, and her mother would say to her, “Go ahead because wherever you go, God will hear you. Pray that your father comes back… Someday you will be a Jew again.”

Unfortunately, her mother became ill, and died. Fran was devastated.

When Fran was eleven and her sister twelve, the girls came to America by boat. “The struggle didn’t end when we landed in America,” said Fran. She was shuttled between relatives and given away for adoption. The hardest obstacle she faced was being separated from her beloved sister.

After many years of struggle, Fran found happiness and stability with her husband and their four children. They have six grandchildren.

Her mother’s prophecy came true—Fran found her way back to Judaism.

There is much more to this story, and Fran tells it when she speaks to schools and organizations about the Holocaust.

The only tangible reminders she has of her early life are some photographs.

Fran still has a close relationship with her sister.  Although Fran’s life has been tumultuous, she is a happy person.

“ Tragedy becomes a part of you, but you can choose to be positive about life,” Fran explained.

You’re never too old to find a passion in life. Writing brings me joy!


Cover of "Immediate Fiction: A Complete W...

Cover via Amazon

A couple of years ago, I was reading an essay a friend of mine wrote for a well-known newspaper.

I thought, “i can do that.” I went home, pulled out an old story I wrote; I polished it up and sent it to The New Standardhttp//www.thenewstandardonline.com.

I was thrilled when the editor decided to put my piece on the front page. I’ve been writing for them ever since.

I’ve attended writer’s conferences, taken online classes, read about writing, and practiced my craft every day. I consider blogging another way, to practice my craft.

One of the books that really helped me write non-fiction is called  A Writers Guide to Nonfiction by Elizabeth Lyon. The book turned into my Bible. I will still open it up, and refer to it. It gave me different options that I found useful. .

Now, I’m exploring fiction and a book I’ve found helpful is Immediate Fiction, by Jerry Cleaver.

One thing I immediately liked was Cleaver’s suggestion that any method you use to get where you’re going in your story works. In real life I’m not much of a planner, so when I sit down to write this story, it just comes together on the paper.

Cleaver says that’s okay.  Do whatever works for you. We’re so brainwashed in school, that we figure you have to do things “correctly.” I like it when people say, there’s no correct way to do anything. Like it says, in the old Nike commercial, “just do it.”

Cleaver also talks about conflict, action, and resolution.  In a fictional story, if everything is happy, you have  no story. Okay, this is basic, but for a beginning fiction writer like me that’s helpful to get it drummed into my head. He also demonstrates how to show more than tell. That might be an old piece of advice, but still valuable.

Cleaver describes conflict in terms I can understand.

“Someone is faced with a problem (conflict), he must struggle with (action) and he wins or loses (resolution), writes Cleaver.  He also discusses at length how to get the reader to identify with the character, and how to get the characters to show emotion.

There’s a lot of great advice in this book. I only scratched the surface.

If you’re interested in fictional writing I would highly recommend this book. Especially, if you’re the type of person who likes to do things their own way!

Don’t be afraid to follow your passion

Don’t be afraid to follow your passion. So, what if you don’t become rich and famous? It helps you grow. If doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 65. Old passions are easy to reignite.

What I’ve liked the most about the writing experience are the other people I’ve met through writer’s groups, conferences and even online classes.

Don’t limit yourself because you are afraid of what others think.

When you get right down to it, nobody is sitting around judging you. I think we’ve all been judged so much, especially during our school years, that we can’t get out of that way of thinking.

The one person you have to please is yourself.

Since I first started intensely following my passion,  I’ve been doing everything I can, to improve my skill.

I have some fictional pieces on http://www.fictionwritersplatform.net, and one piece published in “The Granville Magazine.” “The Columbus Dispatch” also published a piece I did. I still religiously write for “The New Standard.” I’ve only missed one edition.

I was shocked at how easily I could think up topics. No problem. I’ve read tons of books on writing, and I want to share one with you

IMy question: What is your passion, and how have you grown? If you are a writer, do you have any other recommendations for exploring Fiction Writing.

A Humorous Update on DWTS Week5


I like to watch “Dancing With the Stars”. I thought I’d give those of you who missed it a birds eye view of what what happened half-way there.  My qualifications: I know what good dancing looks like! Can I dance? Not really.

Jaleel White and Kim Johnson /Samba

Erkel must work out in the gym.  He was showing his six-pack, and wearing an orange outfit. He also moved with skill and rhythm.

I thought he was underrated. Maybe the judges just can’t get the nerdy Erkel out of their minds.

24/ 30

Melissa Gilbert and Maxim/ SALSA

Melissa must be desperate for attention. She’s dancing with a concussion and whiplash. She hit Maxim’s leg last week with her head.  She asked him to put some of the same moves back in the routine. Maybe the concussion affected her common sense.

She was wearing a yellow and pink outfit. He put her between his legs. I hope she doesn’t have to go back to the hospital because he dragged her head on the floor. I’m still rooting for Half-Pint.

Dancing with whiplash and a concussion doesn’t impress these judges.

21/30

Maria Menounos and Derek/Salsa

If only she could change her laugh, I would really be rooting for her. Her costume was really cute. She looked like a Las Vegas dancer with a big head-dress.

She did a really good job. I know this because I didn’t spend the entire time watching Derek.

Derek took off his shirt and kissed her at the end. Carrie Ann thought that was too much.

I don’t know what they have to do to get a 10.

27/30

Katherine Jenkins and Mark/Argentine Tango

While they were rehearsing she hit Mark in his private parts more than once. Did we have to know this?

She was wearing a beautiful pink outfit, and looked gorgeous. She danced with perfection, no doubt about it.

Grumpy Len gave them a 9, but the other two judges gave them 10’s.

29/30

Gavin Degraw and Karina/Samba

They showed Gavin asking for votes at his concert. It’s like he’s trying to cheat.

He was wearing a white outfit and white hat.

He’s a weak dancer. Everyone likes the guy, but he ought to stick to singing and playing the piano. Isn’t that enough for him?

19/30

In the middle of everything, Carlos Santana does his masterful guitar playing.  I think everything he plays sounds the same, but what do I know? Two Dance-Pros did a beautiful Latin dance and showed us how it’s supposed to look.

William Levy and Cheryl/ Argentine Tango

During rehearsal they show that William is all stressed out. He doesn’t want to disappoint his new American fans. He is one hunky cute guy. When he comes out, we’re informed that he had an accident. His ankle is a mess.

His dance is a wow! Sexy and perfect.

Judges say “wow” Of course, grumpy old Len gives him a 9 instead of a 10

29/30

Gladys Knight and Tristan/Samba

Gladys is wearing a way too short green outfit.

Tristan  looked like he was really leading  her around the dance floor. I felt embarrassed for Gladys.

The judges didn’t agree with me. They were kissing up to Gladys. Even Gladys knew it wasn’t so good, but she said she “enjoyed it.”

They showed their true feelings by her score. I got to admire this lady. She ain’t no spring chicken, and I know what that’s like!

22/30

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie/Salsa

Roshon is a Disney star, and dances great. He’s no William Levy and he knows it. He brought in a picture of William Levy to the rehearsal, and asked him how to make sexy moves. It was cute.

He was wearing  all black with a blue shirt.

I knew he was good because I watched him the entire time.

The judges apparently go for hunks because they underrated him.

26/30

Donald Driver and Peta /Angentine Tango

He watches the dance moves on a video screen, and acts like he’s training for a football game. He’s a tough guy, but seems gentle too.

She’s wearing a red dress, and he’s wearing a black outfit with a red shirt.

He’s carrying her around the dance floor like she’s as light as a football. This guy is strong. He is sexy too.

He got a good score, but wasn’t happy with it. I guess they teach those football players to kill and win!

27/30

Update: Gavin had a dance-off with Jaleel in front of the judges. It was a foregone conclusion who would win. Ingratiating yourself with your fans will only get you so far. Congratulations Jaleel.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

What are appropriate manners on Facebook?


facebook

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

Today, I decided to read Sunday’s newspaper. Since the news is so old by the time I get it anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter if I read it on Sunday or Monday.

One of the columns that always amuses me is written by Judith Martin, who calls herself “Miss Manners.” I don’t know if Ms. Martin intends to be funny, but at times I find her column quite amusing. Her style of writing is a little unusual.

I can see her sitting in her palatial mansion writing her column. I’m wondering if she lives in an exclusive gated community.

I usually read this column because I find it amusing, but occasionally, I find an answer to a question I’ve been wondering about. It gets me thinking about 21st century behavior.

I found one of the questions concerning manners on the internet interesting. Somebody mentioned that on Facebook, people comment on parties some of their “Facebook Friends” have given. The reader who submitted the question mentioned that being left out of the party makes her feel dejected.

The reader was bringing up a good point. As children, we all learn that it is not polite to talk about a gathering you’ve had in front of other people who haven’t been invited.

I have noticed that this type of activity does go on.

Miss Manners thinks the “online boors” should be pitied. (See what I mean?)

Do you think someone else should write an etiquette book about manners online? For all I know, they already have.

Is it appropriate to send thank you notes, birthday cards, and sympathy cards online?

Does anyone out there, still write handwritten notes?

Do you think manners have gone downhill, or just changed?

I have a feeling that people my age, have a totally different feeling about this than younger people.

I’d love to hear from both. Comments?

“The Secret Garden” tugs at my heart


"The Secret Garden'' tugs at my heart.

The past caught up with me tonight.  The lights at “The Lincoln Theater ” in Columbus, Ohio,went out and the musical version of “The Secret Garden” began.  I knew I’d signed up to usher for it, but I’d almost forgotten about taking my children to see it 20-plus years ago.

When the curtain went up on the play, the past suddenly collided with the present. I closed my eyes and I could see my children sitting next to me at the Ohio Theater.  We were seeing a professional production of the very same play. This was not something I did with them very often.

My son was only 8 or 9 my daughter maybe 10.  (I can’t put an exact year on it) They were mesmerized. They loved every minute of it.

As a child, I loved the book the “Secret Garden”(Frances Hodgson Burnett)  and wanted to share it with them. I was so proud of the way they behaved. They knew to applaud after each song, and to stand up at the end of the play to show how much they loved it. I was delighted that the story seemed to touch their hearts too.

I observed some of the parents and their children tonight. It was an outstanding production put on by “Children’s Theater Productions” in Columbus, Ohio.

I was glad that such an old story about love, relationships, and forgiveness still could hold the attention of people in the 21st Century, people who are enamored with technology.   Life has changed so much in the last 20 years. I guess good stories don’t ever go out of style.

I don’t always think about that part of my life being over. Sometimes, I wish I could bring it back for just a day.

I never thought it would go by so fast. The older you get, the stranger time becomes. Things that you thought happened 10 years ago, happened 20.

Do you ever have moments like this? Times when your heart gets tugged at? Are you willing to share?

.

.

Will Angelina and Brad ever tie the knot?


Angelina and Brad are finally getting engaged

  Is the world totally upside down these days?

These people already have six kids, three biological and three adopted. I love this part–their kids want them to get married. Now, that’s a switch.

My guess is they’re never going to make it to the altar. If you ask me, these two beautiful people are a little bit messed up. I have a sneaking suspicion Brad isn’t all that much into Angie.  Let’s face it, she wore a blood vial around her neck when she was married to Billy Bob Thornton, and gave her brother a too sexy kiss when she won an Academy Award.  She’s also rumored to have an affinity for knives.

I think Brad is just in over his head. But, he’s probably just as peculiar or he wouldn’t have been attracted to oddball Angie in the first place. Maybe he does strange things behind closed doors. But, he is still pretty cute, so who cares?

Life is Different in the 21st Century

Things have changed since I was a young woman. In those days, we’d get married, and then have children.  A lot of people ended up getting divorced. The children of those divorced couples are not exactly eager to get into a painful situation.

A current statistic said, “60% of engaged couples live together before getting married. I am subscribing to the theory that it really works. You might as well see what you’re getting into before make the final committment.

But, I don’t think it’s a great idea to have kids before you’re married. It still leaves the woman in a bad situation if the guy decides to take off. (Just like in the good old days.)   You hear a lot about single mothers, but not so much about single fathers. Do women lose if they are not legally bound to their boyfriends?

What do you think?

Are woman being taken advantage of?  Have things really changed that much? Do you think things will ever go back to the good old days?(I’m not so sure they were so good).

Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the 81s...

Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the 81st Academy Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)