June 5, 2020

The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford

A friend was moving to California and gifted me with three door-stopper sized books before his departure. All three tomes are by historical fiction author Edward Rutherford and depict centuries worth of Irish history. The shelter-at-home time has been the perfect opportunity to tackle the first 800-plus page volume, The Princes of Ireland.

Rutherford has the amazing talent of making history come alive by creating fictional story lines which are woven into mention of real people, places and recorded events.

From the early time of druids and human sacrifice, to the arrival of the Vikings, St. Patrick and the English to the Emerald Isle, we become invested in the personal stories of warriors, farmers, priests, wives and children. Romance runs through the chapters as characters find and then lose love or miss it altogether due to historical fate.

The other two large volumes Rutherford has written about Irish history are Dublin Foundation and The Rebels of Ireland. Even those with no Irish blood might find these historical fiction books edifying as well as entertaining.

I previously wrote a blog post on Edward Rutherford’s excellent book entitled Paris.
Here is the 2015 blog post link:

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/category/books-2/page/14/

Genius & Anxiety by Norman Lebrecht

This has certainly been a time for book-lovers to get immersed in history and large novels. While some book reviewers have suggested picking up War and Peace or One Hundred Years of Solitude, I chose books to learn more about Jewish and Irish history.

Norman Lebrecht has written a jam-packed history book entitled Genius & Anxiety – How Jews Changed the World, 1847 – 1947. Freud influenced how we view sex and psychology. Einstein pioneered concepts of time and physics. Marx mapped out the elements of communism versus capitalism. Kafka and Proust changed how we view literature. Sarah Bernhardt revolutionized acting and celebrity.

Less well-known people also contributed to our modern world. Karl Landsteiner helped make blood transfusions and major surgery a reality. Paul Ehrlich helped formulate chemotherapy. Rosalind Franklin paved the way for genetic science. Siegfried Marcus may have created the first motor car.

Lebrecht frequently writes about music so there is ample mention of seminal composers like Mendelssohn in the 19th century and Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein in the 20th. He highlights Korngold and Eisler on the West coast and Leonard Bernstein in the east. In truth, what would Hollywood or Broadway look and sound like without Jewish creativity? Name three famous American composers and one reels off George Gershwin, Aaron Copland and Bernstein.

The book’s brilliance is particularly in Lebrecht’s description of what was happening in the world as he profiles these creative people. Industrialization, the World Wars, the Russian Revolution, the rise of the Nazis, the McCarthy era, the creation of the state of Israel, all figure into this expansive canvas. Lebrecht does not argue that Jews are genetically smarter and more talented than others but that they have a strong tradition of culture and education. Historically being outsiders may have also caused them to think “out of the box” and push new ideas in everything from science, politics, business and the arts.

Genius & Anxiety is the type of book you could either absorbingly read cover to cover, or skip around in, according to your tastes.

Ibrahim Ferrer – Afro-Cuban singer and musician

Some may remember the marvelous 1996 recording, “Buena Vista Social Club.” Surely one of the most endearing world music Afro-Cuban singers to be highlighted was Ibrahim Ferrer who had a marvelous last chapter as an entertainer. After officially retiring from music in 1991, he was brought back to record with the Cuban All Stars in 1996, followed by performing on Ry Cooder’s Grammy-award-winning “Buena Vista Social Club.” The recordings garnered him world-wide popularity. He toured Europe with groups and as a soloist until his death in 2005 at age 78.

You don’t have to know Spanish to enjoy this Latin standard about a perfidious lover.

Perfidia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDT-xuqpH2U

Havana goes on my travel list with its vintage cars, pastel buildings, delicious food and soulful music.

Vitamins D and C for stronger immunity

I ran across a quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci from four years ago where he touted daily doses of Vitamin C and Vitamin D. (He has back-pedaled a bit in current day however.)

Vitamin C is purported to be an anti-oxidant, an anti-histamine, an anti-inflammatory and an immune system booster. Vitamin C is water-soluble and is not readily absorbed by our body’s membrane walls which are made up of fatty acids. Enter liposomes which are nano-sized fat-soluble vehicles that may deliver Vitamin C more effectively to your blood stream.
I ordered 1,000 mg per serving Liposomal Vitamin C capsules. Please be sure to consult with your health care professional to determine what your daily dosage should be.

Sunshine and fresh air can be in short supply during this time at home so Vitamin D might need to be supplemented. Vitamin D3 may protect brain function and memory, reduce risk of heart disease, lower inflammation, improve mood and sleep, plus boost your immunity. Again, I ordered Liposomal Vitamin D3 for better delivery to my blood stream.

You could always take a daily tablespoon of cod liver oil for Vitamin D, but I prefer more palatable Liposomal Vitamin D3 capsules. Again, consult your physician because you can easily overdo your Vitamin D supplementation.

Stay well. Good sleep, healthy food and a few well-chosen vitamins and supplements may just help keep your immunity strong. And remember to bring masks and gloves when you are out and about.

Online sources I have used to purchase over-the-counter vitamins and supplements:

Amazon – amazon.com

Mercola – mercola.com

Swanson – swansonvitamins.com

Vitacost – vitacost.com

I welcome you sharing your vitamin and supplement protocol as well as where you have obtained them.

Andrew Cuomo’s Daily Address on YouTube

If you want to feel informed and inspired, catch some of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily public addresses. Bear in mind, the state of New York is a few weeks ahead of much of the country in the pandemic curve so their experiences may be predictive for other states with densely populated areas.

I find that a laptop or tablet allows you to exercise or do household tasks while you listen/watch to these broadcasts.

Today’s Friday, May 8, 2020 program was especially informative. COVID-19 most likely came to New York much earlier than we thought through Europe and not China. Fake news? Cuomo endeavors to use hard data and advice from medical and science professionals.

May 8, 2020 broadcast:

Eric Whitacre: Rock star of the choral world

Online recordings are all the rage now, but here are a couple of works by Nevada native, composer, speaker, choral conductor and handsome dude, Eric Whitacre.

A young girl sent him a video of her singing one his his choral compositions. He hit upon the idea of having multiple singers send in recorded choral parts and assembling them into virtual choir performances.

Enjoy these two clips.

Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre – 2009
Poem by Edward Esch
185 voices; 12 countries; 243 tracks.

Sleep by Eric Whitacre – 2010
Over 2,000 videos from 58 countries.

Interesting to note that as a teenager, Whitacre had been in a rock band, but could not read music when he started undergraduate study at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada. He persevered to graduate with a degree in Music Composition.

His body of work to date includes choral works, orchestral pieces, a musical and music for film and television.