Bill, “sponsored” for the second year running by the crab seasoning company Old Bay, made his forecast on Tuesday. He choose to walk — or “scuttle,” in the Baltimore Sun’s words — over the “WARM FALL” side of a two-pronged plank that drops off into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Last year Bill chose the less welcome “EARLY WINTER” side of the plank. Overall, fall 2012 was warmer than average in Baltimore.
Meteorologists seem to agree with Baltimore Bill’s prognostications this time around, at least for part of the country (Bill’s forecast is supposed to apply country-wide, Old Bay spokesperson Kathleen Shaffer tells HuffPost).
Given that the progenitor of this stunt is a company that helps make crabs more delicious, we couldn’t help but wonder what becomes of the clever crustacean after Tuesday’s leap into the water.
Shaffer says that a “special fisherman who goes out every year” will collect him again next fall. But since Bill has not been marked or cordoned off in any way, “technically, yes,” Shaffer says, he could still be captured and eaten. Shaffer very nicely declined to predict the chances of that fate befalling Baltimore Bill.
As artistic director of the nonprofit UnsungMusicalsCo. Inc., West scours libraries, newspaper archives and databases for overlooked and undervalued musicals. Then he breathes life into them. “The intention is to return them to the canon,” he says as he puts the finishing touches on the latest of his “lost” shows — “Bless You All!” a 1950 revue with songs by Harold Rome and sketches by Arnold Auerbach.
West, who also directs, has restructured the show, trimmed a few numbers, restored a sketch and streamlined the story. “I always try to stay true to the original author’s intent,” he says from the company’s temporary home at the Connelly Theatre.
Now celebrating its fifth year, UnsungMusicalsCo. has produced 13 shows that range from developmental readings to fully staged off-Broadway productions, including “The Fig Leaves Are Falling” and “Make Mine Manhattan.”
West, who grew up in Miami but visited New York regularly to see shows while his mom came for business, is a walking encyclopedia of the golden age of musical theater, roughly 1931-1971.
He and his three-person staff operate on a shoestring budget, and West supplements his income as an administrative assistant. (“Bless You All!” will cost about $40,000.)
He finds potential works in various places, getting a clue from an old newspaper review or from archival collections. He found a never-produced Arnold Horwitt musical in the copyright office, so obscure that even the lyricist’s children were unaware it existed.
He stumbled across the manuscript for the concert “Gatsby” at the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts in the papers of its lyricist, Carolyn Leigh, while looking for another show.
He tries to make sense of the manuscripts’ often chicken-scratch longhand and, if the work is unfinished, he’ll stitch in new music or characters. “The material is there,” he says. “It’s just finding it and making it usable.”
West also seeks out permission to mount his revivals from the creators’ heirs, many of whom are thrilled that shows never produced or forgotten from 60 years ago will be seen and heard.
He sat down with The Associated Press to explain the process.
AP: How do you pick shows to revive?
West: The criteria that I look for is obscure but artistically sound. Which is to say, not flops. For example, “Make My Manhattan,” which was our first full production, was a huge hit in 1948. But its authors never became household names. But the show ran almost a year and went on tour with Bert Lahr.
AP: Why did it — and other shows — disappear?
West: I think there are certain criteria that cause shows to be forgotten, mainly the style. The traditional revue, for example, is gone. And also if an author has not become a household name, I think they tend not to be investigated.
AP: Your new one — “Bless You All!” — apparently got good reviews. What happened?
West: I think it was actually behind its time. It was this homage — they didn’t bill it as an homage, of course — to a 1930s revue in 1950, when variety shows are on the air and the revue is not popular. And yet it got good reviews but it just did not run.
AP: How have shows changed since the golden years?
West: It seems like a heavy emphasis is now being put on the concept and the drive to be original and new, in terms of the architecture of the show, with the story taking a back seat to that.
AP: Most of these old shows were never recorded. Would that have helped you?
West: If I did have the opportunity to hear an original, I don’t think I’d pass it up. But, at the same time, I’m not digging through cabinets to find it. I try to come to it with fresh eyes. I sort of like not knowing what it was because then we get to create it new.
AP: What is the ultimate goal of UnsungMusicalsCo.?
West: I would love the shows to live on in whatever form that may be. I may have the touch of an idealist. I’m not sure that all of the stuff we’re doing I would love to see in a Broadway house. An off-Broadway house would be fabulous or for regionals to do it. Essentially I want the shows to live on.
Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
Our planet’s population is nearing 7 billion. The nexus between human well-being and conservation of nature needs our attention more than ever.
That’s why The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) have announced the launch of SNAP (Science for Nature and People), a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at solving the world’s most pressing conservation and human development challenges.
We announced the launch this week at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Lucia Forquera is one of many goat herders participating in a “green” cashmere project in Patagonia that protects local wildlife habitat. © Carolina Marull/WCS
As the world’s population continues to grow, the need to address the correlation between nature and the food, water, energy and security needs of people has never been greater. With SNAP, our organizations are knocking down the traditional walls between disciplines, institutions, and sectors, and harnessing the scientific expertise on all our teams. SNAP will tackle high-profile problems where we see clear pathways to the implementation of solutions.
Our two first projects:
Western Amazonia: Balancing Infrastructure Development and Conservation of Waters, Wetlands, and Fisheries
The Amazon Basin is the largest river system in the world, and the Western Amazon contains the largest areas of flooded forests, and wetlands in the basin — areas critical to food provision and drinking water for tens of millions of people as well as to subsistence and commercial fisheries. How might conservation of waters and wetlands and local food security and economies dependent on them be balanced with the large-scale infrastructure development already underway, such as roads and expanding agricultural frontiers and hydrocarbon exploitation, as well as planned dams needed to support the growing urban populations? The SNAP Western Amazonia Working Group will promote integrated river basin management and planning informed by science and “translated” into a language and format usable by decision-makers.
SNAP seeks to balance infrastructure development in the Amazon Basin with the needs of local people. ©Julie Larsen Maher/WCS
Integrating Natural Defenses into Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction
The recent tsunami in Japan showed how even monumental built capital (levees, sea walls and artificial barrier islands) can be overcome by just one severe environmental event. Similarly, research and observations in the wake of recent hurricanes that have affected the Caribbean islands and the United States have demonstrated that natural systems can play critical roles in buffering people against coastal storm impacts. SNAP will focus on exploring how conserving existing coastal habitat and restoring what has been lost can help protect coastal communities and livelihoods from the impacts that result from storms – such as hydro-meteorological hazards like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina and other extreme environmental events.
SNAP is leveraging the highly productive synthesis research model, using working groups first established by NCEAS, to find the solutions to these challenges.
Sustainable fishing practices benefit both wildlife and local livelihoods in coastal Madagascar. © Julie Larsen Maher/WCS
Together, the founders of SNAP have staff members in more than 65 countries, providing the capacity to actively test strategies that conserve nature and benefit people. The collaboration will soon be adding partners from the humanitarian sector to extend its expertise and reach.
As founders, WCS, TNC and NCEAS hope SNAP will become the go-to place for practitioners and policymakers from around the world to seek and find solutions to their most pressing problems around human well-being and the conservation of nature.
The process of applying ACT to “psychotic” experiences is well described in the book Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness for Psychosis, which I recently finished reading. I found a lot to like in the book and generally in the concept of applying ACT to psychotic experiences, but I also noticed some major limitations, which I will get to below.
There is, I think, great value in the notion of shifting attention away from attempts to eliminate experiences that might be labeled “psychotic” and focusing instead on increasing a person’s ability and willingness to move toward his or her values. This idea is consistent with the emphasis in the recovery movement of finding a way to live a valued life despite any ongoing problems, but ACT has value because of the unique and effective strategies it offers to help people make this shift.
It is also a virtue of ACT that it is “transdiagnostic,” that is, it is not an approach designed for specific “mental disorders” but rather an approach designed to address problems in living which are understood to be universal for human beings, including for the professionals themselves. ACT appreciates that life is tricky and that we can get caught up in strategies that are unhelpful to us, like focusing too much on trying to get rid of unwanted experiences and/or getting too taken over by, or “fused,” with them, but it also appreciates that we all retain the ability to turn toward more constructive, value-driven approaches.
ACT is also often fun. Inspired by the book, I recently led a group mindfulness exercise, with my co-facilitator playing the role of a voice that interrupted that exercise, saying things designed to provoke and distract the group members. Meanwhile, I was guiding people in disengaging from his remarks, and having them notice they could gently bring their attention back to their breath. People ended up laughing a lot during the exercise but also noticing they did have the option of just disengaging from whatever was said, no matter how provocative, and attending instead to a particular chosen goal such as, in this case, paying attention to the breath. (You can download a detailed guide to using ACT in groups for people with “psychotic” experiences here.)
However, as noted by one group member who has made progress in understanding the parts of herself that lie behind her “voices,” such an approach of treating the voice hearing experience as simply something to accept and make nothing of, is best seen as a strategy to do only some of the time. At other times, people may be better off trying to understand what is behind their voices. That’s where I see problems with ACT: it tends to suggest that disruptive experiences, whether they be emotions, impulses, thoughts or voices, are just static to be disengaged from and then basically ignored as one moves toward values. But it neglects the way such experiences, when attended to and understood, can actually contribute to the development of a more integrated sense of values and self.
A commonly used metaphor in ACT is called “passengers on the bus.” The idea is to imagine yourself as a bus driver, and imagining that you have a lot of rowdy, scary looking passengers. They start telling you where to go, with the threat being that if you don’t obey, they will come up front of the bus where they will be very hard to ignore. So sometimes you do what they say to keep from having to notice them, and sometimes you stop the bus and try to throw them off (but they are too strong to throw off, plus you have to stop the bus to engage with them that way). The idea the ACT practitioner would be wanting you to become aware of is that in trying to get control over the passengers and over how noticeable they are to you, you have actually ended up with less control over the direction of the bus. The ACT practitioner would suggest you try instead focusing on where you want the bus to go, without trying to get rid of the passengers or worrying about whether they come up to the front of the bus and yell at you.
I believe the problem with always trying to live by this ACT metaphor is that while it may lead to being able to carry out intentional behavior toward values identified by the conscious part of the psyche, it tends to suggest there is no way of reconciling with the angry, scary, noisy parts of the psyche which may be objecting to those actions. For a different point of view, consider the perspective of Eleanor Longden, a woman who once was seen as a “hopeless schizophrenic” but who recovered using methods promoted by the hearing voices network, which she summarizes in the following analogy:
…I want you to imagine a group of people coming into a room. Some are angry, some are hugely distressed, and some are goading and malicious. They are not easy to be around, and we can choose one of two options for dealing with them The first is to sit down and try to understand them, to comfort them, to set helpful and safe boundaries on their behavior, to ask them what has happened to make them feel this way, and to seek possible solutions. The second option is to lock them in another room and wait for them to calm down. And perhaps they will. But what if they don’t? What if, instead, they begin to claw and pound at the door, to shout louder to get our attention, to grow even more frustrated and distressed? And what if we, in turn, grow more afraid and mistrustful of them and become even less inclined to open the door and begin to negotiate peace and resolution? For years I had chosen the second option as the way to deal with the voices. The first option, quite simply, was what made my recovery possible — out of the dark room and into the light.
I suspect a wise “bus driver” would alternate between at times being firm and taking some actions despite “passengers” yelling and complaining, but also at times being flexible and seeking to understand strongly expressed complaints and to come up with reasonable solutions that resolve difficulties and make peace with the passengers. So I think that even while ACT strategies are helpful for people with difficult or psychotic experiences to know and practice at times, ACT would do better to be more aware of the limitations of those strategies, and to consider alternating them with more self-exploratory strategies such as those suggested by Eleanor, who also wrote that:
…possibly one of the greatest revelations on the journey occurred when I realized that the most hostile, aggressive voices actually represented the parts of me that had been hurt the most profoundly — and as such, it was these voices that need to be shown the greatest compassion and care. In turn, this meant sending a loving message of compassion, acceptance, and respect toward myself. My voices seemed like the problem; they were actually the solution, an inextricable part of the healing process.
I believe, like Eleanor, that every bit of our psyche and of our experience has value if and when we put it in the right perspective. I hope to see future versions of ACT which acknowledge this and which help people find value in, rather than just tolerate, the experiences they once felt compelled to avoid at all costs.
Given the fact that the 64-year-old swimmer became the first confirmed person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage this year, we’re pretty sure she’s living both a fierce and fearless life already.
She also explained her definition of success to host Josh Zepps, which was inspired by a Henry David Thoreau quote someone send her after she completed her historic swim:
When you achieve your goals, it’s not so much what you get for them … You get some compensation, you get some pats on the back, you get your name printed somewhere. It’s more who you become. What did it take? Who did I have to be to do this swim? And I had to be a person who would not give up no matter how crushing the disappointments were along the way.
Click over to HuffPost Live to watch the full segment.
Psychological pain exists because you are divided, at war within yourself. As a result, life becomes complicated. When you lose touch with your inner truth, and are living from a divided self, pulled this way and that, by your desire to please and be accepted by others, you find yourself lost, isolated and deeply unhappy. You create challenges, adversity, and difficulties to keep yourself distracted and to prove to yourself that you are worthy.
If, however, you are able to live your sadness with total authenticity, the division disappears. For example: you are sad: that is the truth of this moment. But your conditioned mind says: “You have to be happy. Smile! What will people think of you?”
Here is the problem: you pretend, you act, you repress the truth. The phony becomes the ideal.
How can you know, and love yourself, if you don’t accept yourself?
Live your sadness in total authenticity, and you will be surprised. A miraculous door opens in your being, because the division disappears. Sadness is there and there is no question of any ideal to be anything else. There is no effort, no conflict, no war. “I am simply this” and there is relaxation. And in that relaxation is grace and joy.
Psychological pain exists because you are divided. Pain means division, and joy means no division. You might be thinking: How can feeling my sadness bring joy? It looks paradoxical, but it is true. Try it. However, please note: accepting your sadness with an agenda to feel joy, is not going to work. Joy arises through your authentic expression of sadness.
Joy is a byproduct of being authentic.
Joy is a natural consequence of being united with your sadness, because it is your truth, in this moment. In the next moment you may be angry: accept that, too. And the next moment you may be something else: accept that, too.
Live moment to moment, with acceptance, without any division, and self-love, self-worth, self-confidence arise within you, naturally and automatically.
Drop all ideals of how you should be,and accept who you are, in each moment. The journey of self-acceptance starts with becoming aware of your feelings and allowing yourself to feel your feelings. We are human. Feeling is a part of the human experience. Get used to feeling because feeling is to LIVE, feeling is to be ALIVE. When uncomfortable feelings arise: allow, experience and accept.
On the other side of your sadness, hurt and despair is your magnificent, brilliant, luminous spirit, which is not damaged. Your spirit is love, and when aligned with your authenticity, guides your life with grace, and ease.
Accepting yourself, warts and all, helps you become strong and confident from within, so that no matter what other people think or say, you are deeply rooted in your own self-worth. Your feelings are the key. Love is always waiting on the other side. The only thing blocking you from receiving more love is your resistance to feeling your feelings.
Are you thinking: I don’t want to feel because I don’t want to be hurt any more? I understand. I went through this very same experience. As I allowed myself to start feeling, something wonderful happened. I began to feel more love, to laugh and enjoy my life more. I was liberated from a prison of pain and opened up to more self-love, self-worth and self-confidence AND to receiving more love from others.
Inner strength and confidence are an inside job. When you get to the point where you can accept yourself, the need for challenges, adversity and complications just falls away, because you don’t need to prove your worth any more to yourself.
Meditation: Accept Yourself — Four Minutes
Benefits: In the very experiencing of your feelings, a spaciousness is created, and miracles can occur. Trust that, even when you feel miserable, on the other side of the misery, is love. Our natural state is love. All we have to do is accept who we are, in any given moment, and love is there.
Start gently, with compassion for yourself.
Sit,or lie down, whichever is most comfortable for your body. Breathe, relax your body, open your palms upwards, in a receptive posture. Allow your feelings, whatever they are, without judging, condemning or criticizing yourself. Accept what is happening, in each moment, without wanting it to be different. When you fight what is, you make it worse. You are the way you are: accept yourself with joy, with gratitude.
I look forward to your comments.
Join my Laughing Buddhas Network – it’s FREE!
For more by Pragito Dove, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.
#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo