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Sunday, October 30, 2011

MORNING CUP OF COFFEE FOR OCTOBER 30TH 2011

Good morning everyone and welcome to week number twenty-six of Morning Cup of Coffee.  It is the final Sunday of October.  Tomorrow is Halloween and then we go into the holidays.
2011 is just about over.  Unbelievable!
I hope this week finds everyone healthy and well.  We are having beautiful weather here in SoCal.  It was around 78 today and drops into the high 40s at night.  Very nice!
Last week we had an interesting discussion regarding this topic:
You have a child who has been wonderful.  This child has never given you a minute of trouble.  Your child is a senior in high school and his/her dream is to attend Harvard.  But clearly, you cannot afford to send your child to the school, but you encourage your child to always go for their dreams.  Unbeknownst to you, your child takes a test for a full scholarship to Harvard and passes.  He/she can attend Harvard – the school of their dreams – free of charge.  Later, your child sits down and tells you that through a source, they received a copy of the test about a month ago.  Although the test was not exactly the same, there were enough similarities to make it much easier to pass the test.  Your child tells you, “You have been such a good parent that I did not want you to have to worry about paying for college.  There is no way anyone will find out.  I did this for you.”
The question is:
Do you let this go because this is your child’s dream and you would not want to destroy that? 
Or,
Do you tell your child that this is wrong and you cannot accept this scholarship?
We had some very interesting responses as we always do, but sometimes it is the simple statements that are the most profound.  Here is Bryan Wilson’s response:
“ahhhhhhhh let him get the scholarship....it’s Harvard....but he/she better not cheat on anything ever again…..”
See?  Simple and right to the point.  Good post, Bryan!
Ok, let’s get to today’s topic.  As we do each week, we begin with the rules:
Rule #1 – Absolutely no politics allowed
Rule #2 – ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS ALLOWED!
So, let’s begin.  For breakfast today, let’s take a trip to the Southwest for some delicious and spicy huevos rancheros (for those of you around the country that have never had this, it is very tasty!).  Take a nice long sip of the Columbian blend (thank you Juan Valdez) and let’s get started on this 30th day of October 2011.
Since it’s Halloween, let’s have a little fun.  I want to hear favorite scary movie, or scary book, or scary story.  What really spooked you?
The first book that scared me was Lord of the Flies.  I was maybe 12 when I read it and I didn’t sleep for a couple of days.  As far as movies, I have never been into slasher movies like Friday the 13th or Scream.  But one movie that scared the heck out of me was Hitchcock’s The Birds.  I grew up in a neighborhood that was full of pigeons and I was scared walking to school.  Messed me up for years.   As an adult? No question.  Fatal Attraction.  Glenn Close was arguably the scariest character in movie history.  Well, it was scary for men anyway.  A close second is Kathy Bates in Misery.
Ok, now it is your turn.  Take a fork-full of the huevos rancheros and another long sip of the Columbian blend and start writing.  Remember, what book, movie or story really scared you?  Have fun with it. 
Catch you all on the flipside…..

Sunday, October 23, 2011

MORNING CUP OF COFFEE FOR OCTOBER 23RD 2011

Good morning everyone and welcome to week number twenty-five of Morning Cup of Coffee.  I know that I have thanked all of you for reading and contributing to our little project.  But I really cannot thank you all enough.  I really do enjoy our conversations each week and I am so honored that all of you are giving enough to share your thoughts on MCOC.  All I do is provide the forum.  It is all of you that make MCOC go.
Again, thank you so very much.
I was a bit nervous about last week’s topic.  I was not sure what the response would be because I understand that this was something that could make some a bit uncomfortable.  For those of you who were not with us, the topic was this:
You have a friend. This is not just any friend but a friend that you have been close to for years.  You have vacationed together, shared the ups and downs of your marriage and raising children.  When something happens in your life, your friend is the first person that you call.  While running errands one day, you see the spouse of your friend with another person – showing a great deal of affection.  It is clear that the spouse of your friend is having an affair.
The question is this: 
Do you your friend about what you have seen?
What an amazing group of responses from everyone.  I would suggest you go back are read them all (for they were all great in their own right).  I am going to select Dianna’s post:
My first thought is to approach the spouse of my friend. I would ask if what they are doing is worth losing the marriage they have worked so long and hard to build. I would leave it up to them to tell or not tell the spouse. There would also be the option of stopping the affair and devote themselves back to the spouse and marriage. I would ask them to think it through long and hard. Losing a long term marriage is difficult and lonely.
The reason I like Dianna’s post is because it was really well thought out and did not make judgments.  It was serious but not heavy-handed.
Great post, Dianna!
By the way, Janet asked a question last week:
Question to you, Mr. Glenn: how do you come up with not just the topics each week, but the choice of eateries? I'm amazed.
LOL!!  Well Janet, I am flattered.  Thank you so much for the compliment.  However it really isn’t very amazing.  The topics are something that just kind of pop into my head, or they may come from a version of something that I have experienced (like last week’s topic), or maybe something that I have discussed in the past with friends.  But, I definitely can use some help – I sometimes get a bad case of writers block.  So if any of you has a topic suggestion, please, please let me know.  As far as the food, like most people I really like to eat.  These are just things that I have enjoyed eating in the past.  I really like breakfast and coffee, well I must admit that I am an addict when it comes to java.  Nancy calls me a coffee snob (I wouldn’t go that far), but I really love all different kinds of coffee.  That was a bit of a long winded answer, but there it is.  Again, thanks for the compliment, Janet
Ok, let’s get to today’s topic.  As we do each week, we begin with the rules:
Rule #1 – Absolutely no politics allowed
Rule #2 – ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS ALLOWED!
So, let’s begin.  For breakfast today, let’s go down south.  How about some homemade biscuits, gravy, some ham and grits?  And let’s go simple with a cup of Dunkin’ Doughnuts Coffee.  Take a bite and a sip and let’s get started on this 23rd day of October 2011.
You have a child who has been wonderful.  This child has never given you a minute of trouble.  Your child is a senior in high school and his/her dream is to attend Harvard.  But clearly, you cannot afford to send your child to the school, but you encourage your child to always go for their dreams.  Unbeknownst to you, your child takes a test for a full scholarship to Harvard and passes.  He/she can attend Harvard – the school of their dreams – free of charge.  Later, your child sits down and tells you that through a source, they received a copy of the test about a month ago.  Although the test was not exactly the same, there were enough similarities to make it much easier to pass the test.  Your child tells you, “You have been such a good parent that I did not want you to have to worry about paying for college.  There is no way anyone will find out.  I did this for you.”
So, today’s MCOC question is:
Do you let this go because this is your child’s dream and you would not want to destroy that? 
Or,
Do you tell your child that this is wrong and you cannot accept this scholarship?
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer.  Just a matter of opinion.  So, dig into the biscuits and gravy (can’t you just smell that? Yum), take a nice long sip of the Dunkin Doughnuts coffee and start writing.  Be honest, don’t be shy.  And most of all, have fun with it. 
Catch you all on the flipside…..

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CANDY DULFER ROCKS THE HOUSE AT THORNTON WINERY

Saxophonist Closes Out Jazz Season With Sizzling Show
by Glenn Wilson

When Candy Dulfer strode onto the stage at Thornton Winery this past Saturday, it was clear from the get-go that this would not be your typical smooth jazz concert.  Introduced by the effervescent keyboardist-singer Stanley “Chance” Johnson, Dulfer and her tight six-piece band Funky Stuff set the tone by opening with her R&B influenced 1995 hit 2 Funky.  Dulfer danced, sang, rapped and oh yeah, played the sax.

On a perfect Temecula evening, Thornton picked the perfect artist to closeout its 23rd annual jazz concert series.  And Dulfer, the Dutch-born saxophonist did not disappoint.  Looking positively sexy in a black leather vest and a florescent yellow mini-skirt with matching shoes (according to her Facebook post, two suitcases full of her clothes were lost by Southwest Airlines earlier in the day), Candy turned concert into a big, wine-induced party.

Everyone was dancing and having a good time.

Concentrating mostly on material from her new CD Crazy, Candy kept the music upbeat.  During a break, Candy asked the crowd “Do you guys want romance or more funk?”  The crowd responded loudly MORE FUNK! And Candy obliged with songs such as Hey Now, Electric Blue and Please Don’t Stop.  She did slow the pace briefly with a beautiful instrumental rendition of the Alicia Keys classic Empire State of Mind, featuring a screaming guitar solo by Ulco Bed that would have made Jimmy Hendrix proud.

Dulfer band was terrific.  In addition to Chance Johnson (whom she selflessly shared the stage with), the musicians were Thomas Bank on keyboards, Ulco Bed on lead guitar, Manuel Hugas on bass, Kirk Johnson drums and Jan Van Duikeren on trumpet and vocals.  Included in the nearly two hour set was the Dave Stewart collaboration Lilly Was Here; L.A. City Lights and Flame.  Just when you thought the show was winding down, Candy and the band ripped through a twelve minute version the Average White Band’s Pick Up The Pieces in which Dulfer showed off her sax playing with drummer Kirk Johnson and bassist Manuel Hugas. 

Although she does not have the chops of a Mindi Abair or a Jessy J (she is a self-taught musician), Candy Dulfer is a complete show person.  She knows exactly what buttons to push with a crowd.  It was a spectacular show by a spectacular artist and band.

The evening began with a side-splitting set by comedian Alonzo Bodden.  The New York-born Bodden who was the 2009 winner of Last Comic Standing, had the audience in the palm of his hands.  One of his funniest lines was about the irony of camping.  “You work hard so that you can go to the mountains and pretend you are homeless?”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

MORNING CUP OF COFFEE FOR OCTOBER 16TH 2011

MORNING CUP OF COFFEE FOR OCTOBER 16TH 2011
Good morning everyone and welcome to week number twenty-four of Morning Cup of Coffee.  I am amazed how fast this year is going by.  It is already mid-October.  Halloween is just around the corner.
Amazing!
Anyway, after some really uncharacteristic hot weather this week in SoCal (and we are talking 100+ degrees), it now is back to normal and it is an absolutely lovely fall morning.
Last week’s topic was “What Long Lyrics do you just Love?  Whenever music is involved, we get great response and this topic was no exception.  Everyone had a great and unique take, but here is Taryn Allen’s post:
I know that this will be cheesy but this lyric describes music to me:
"So I say thank you for the music the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy their bringing
Who can live without it I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me
--- "Thank You For the Music by ABBA
Nothing cheesy about that at all, Taryn.  There is always beauty in simplicity.  Great post, Taryn!
Before we get started, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday tomorrow to my beautiful, wonderful (and a little bit crazy) wife Nancy.  Birthday number 29! (yeah, I am trying to score points – I have no shame).  Ok, let’s get to today’s topic.  As we do each week, we begin with the rules:
Rule #1 – Absolutely no politics allowed
Rule #2 – ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS ALLOWED!
So, let’s begin.  Take a bite of the leftover Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, and take a good, long sip of that wonderful Carmel Macchiato let’s get started on this 16th day of October 2011.
Today’s MCOC is going to be a bit different.  I am going to pose a scenario and ask for your response or opinion.  There is no right or wrong answer.  Just a matter of opinion.  So, here goes.
You have a friend. This is not just any friend but a friend that you have been close to for years.  You have vacationed together, shared the ups and downs of your marriage and raising children.  When something happens in your life, your friend is the first person that you call.  While running errands one day, you see the spouse of your friend with another person – showing a great deal of affection.  It is clear that the spouse of your friend is having an affair.
The question is this: 
Do you tell your friend about what you have seen?  As painful as it may be, is it better that your friend know the truth?
 Or,
Do you not tell your friend and hope things work out on their own?
Or,
Do you have an opinion that is not one of the two mentioned?
I know this is not easy, and it may make some of you uncomfortable.  But, this is just to spark discussion.  Again, there is no right or wrong answer.  Just give your honest opinion.  I will post my answer later in the day.  So, take one last bite of the chicken and waffles, and another sip of the delicious Carmel Macchiato and start writing.  I know this is a serious topic, but have fun with it.
Catch you all on the flipside…..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Christina Wilson's Senior Recital from March 6 2011

Christina Wilson Takes Audience on a “Musical Journey”
From Start to Finish, Christina Wilson Shines in her Senior Recital at Cal State Long Beach
Prior to her junior recital last March, no one outside of her close circle of colleagues at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music knew exactly what to expect from Christina Wilson’s first extended solo performance.  What she proceeded to do was deliver a stunning set that had friends and family buzzing for weeks.  As her senior recital approached, the question was, what would she do for an encore?  Could she possibly equal her remarkable performance of last year?
                The answer was a resounding yes.  But she did not simply equal her junior recital, she far exceeded it.
In front of a near-capacity audience on March 6 in the Daniel Recital Hall, Christina delivered a well-paced, balanced and heartfelt eleven-song set which she deemed “My Musical Journey.” 
Appearing relaxed in a black sweater and white pants, Christina was ably backed by a group of tasty jazz musicians, including keyboardist Anthony Lopez, bassist Brad Babinski and drummer Andre Copher.  Later in the concert, she was joined by guitarist Shane Savala, violinist Emily Kilimnik along with percussionists Paul Stengel and Jonathan Baer.
Christina opened the recital with swinging, swaying original composition called Rhythm N Booze, which spotlighted her ever-improving scatting skills.  She followed with a slick rendition of Rosana Eckert’s I Know I’ve Seen This Thing Before.  Christina then performed the stylish and playful Crickets Sing For Anamaria (Os Grilos), flawlessly executing the English and Brazilian lyrics.  Three songs, three completely different styles.
And she was just getting warmed up.
Next was The Waking, a hauntingly beautiful duet with bassist Brad Babinski, in which Christina displayed near perfect technique of phrasing and interpretation.  Another original composition, This I’ll Never Forget followed.  Her sweet lyrics and easy vocal belied the song’s melodic complexity. For the next song, she was joined by guitarist Shane Savala, and percussionists Andre Copher, Jonathan Baer and Paul Stengel, who together effortlessly breezed through Basia’s Half a Minute.  The tune was highlighted by some outstanding tambourine work from Baer.
The evening continued with perhaps the strongest section of the show.  Christina’s arrangement of Ebudae, where she reiterated her affinity for Celtic music was a marvel to listen to.  This tune featured a soaring violin accompaniment from Emily Kilimnik.  The gorgeous Illusion, a Gregory Porter composition had the audience transfixed.    She delivered the heartbreaking lyrics with such believability that one cannot help but think that she has lived some of the song’s sadness.
The strangely alluring Je N’en Connais Pas La Fin was included in the well-rounded program and again was delivered with such dexterity that she made it appear effortless.  Christina brought a little funk to the recital with a head-bobbing, toe-tapping rendition of the Bill Withers classic Use Me.  The night ended with a rollicking version of Michael Ruff’s You Don’t Love Me Like You Used To, which showcased the band, especially the rhythm section of Copher, Stengal, and Baer and a smoking sax solo by Dan Kaneyuki. 
When the recital ended (after an impromptu encore that featured audience participation), Christina had succeeded in taking her audience on a journey.  From jazz, to blues, from Ireland to France, from Brazil to a little R&B from the Mississippi Delta, it was surely a journey that the appreciative crowd was willing jump on board and let Christina take them along on. 
Though no one number packed the emotional punch of last year’s bluesy arrangement of Que Sera Sera, this recital was more consistent, had much more depth and from top to bottom had a greater degree of difficulty.  There were no weaknesses in this recital.  Not only was she outstanding vocally, but she showed her growth as an artist and performer.  In the outer lobby afterwards, Christina’s vocal instructor Christine Helferich Guter beamed like only a teacher can. 
Among those in attendance were choral director, Dr. Jonathan Talberg and John Byun, her choral director at Riverside City College.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

MORNING CUP OF COFFEE FOR OCTOBER 9TH 2011

Good morning everyone and welcome to week number twenty-three of Morning Cup of Coffee.  It is a beautiful fall morning here in SoCal and I sincerely hope this day finds everyone healthy and well.
Our topic last week was: What moment defined your life and times? As is the case each week, the postings were tremendous.  They went deeper than I could have ever imagined.  Here was one from Mary Ready:
 “There are so many events (tragic and miraculous) that have happened during my life time and I can remember where I was and the feelings I was having still to this day. Many have been mentioned (911, Elvis Death, the Challenger Explosion, Katrina, etc…) these events affect all our lives and our country. But the events that are dearest to my heart are:
1) My father’s death – and I do not mean this in a bad way. His death means more to me today then the day he passed. I understand things more clearly now like the beauty of his life and the wonderful memories he gave all of us. And how powerful his presence is still in my life.
2) My relationship with God. It continues to grow in ways I could not have even imagined.
3) The day I meet, fell in love and married my husband. I am a different person than I was before I met him. He has taught me unconditional love between spouses. He has taught me patience and is truly my best friend. Just to name a few things.
4) When I thought we were going to lose our mom. I really felt the road she was on could lead only to one place. Everything within me was tested. I had to relearn to have hope, be strong, let others help and thank God for the people he sent to me to help me along the way. Especially my sister Linda.
So how do I want to be defined in years to come? A Godly woman who loved her parents with all her heart. A woman who adored and respected her husband. A woman who had great friends and family and cared deeply for them all. A woman with no regrets.
Outstanding and heartfelt.  Wonderful posting, Mary!
Ok, let’s get to today’s topic.  As we do each week, we begin with the rules:
Rule #1 – Absolutely no politics allowed
Rule #2 – ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS ALLOWED!
With that said, let’s begin.  Take a bite of the English muffin and a nice satisfying sip of the Colombian blend and let’s get started on this 9th day of October 2011.
Back in week number four of MCOC (when we were just getting started with our little weekly discussion), our topic was What Song Really Does it for You? It was one of our most popular topics to date and the response was amazing.  Like I said at the time, music has the ability to move and effect us in such a profound way.  So, we will go back to the music theme today but the question will be just a bit different.
Songs are powerful.  The music is intoxicating.  But sometimes the thing that absolutely grabs you about a song is its lyrics.  Sometimes they can be powerful.  Sometimes they can provoke thought.  Sometimes – in the words of Paul McCartney – they could be just “Silly Love Songs.”
I have said many times the enormous impact Marvin Gaye’s landmark “What’s Going On” had on me.  The lyrics were so profound and so timely:
 Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today
Another set of lyrics that I love are from the late, great Curtis Mayfield and his anthem “People Get Ready”:People get ready, there's a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most
There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner whom would hurt all mankind
Just to save his own
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there is no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

Those are just a couple of lyrics that come to mind that give me chills when I read them.  There are so many more, but it is time for me to turn it over to you.  So, my question this week is: What Song Lyrics Do you Just Love?
It does not have to be serious or thought provoking.  It could be something goofy like Baby Got Back.  As long as it means something to you, anything goes.  So, take another bite of the English Muffin and one more wonderful sip of the Colombian blend and start writing.  Have fun with it and,
Catch you all on the flipside…..

Sunday, October 2, 2011

MORNING CUP OF COFFEE - OCTOBER 2ND 2011

Good morning everyone and welcome to week number twenty-two of Morning Cup of Coffee.  It has been nearly six months since we began our little weekly conversation.  It started as just something for me to do while I was convalescing and I must say that it really is something that I really look forward to each Sunday morning.  I hope you do to. Again, I want to thank you all for participating.
This is the first weekend of October (Can you believe it?).  I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.  It is October, and that means by the end of this month it will be Halloween and then November and Thanksgiving and….well, let’s not get into that.  I am just not ready for the holiday’s to begin.

Our topic last week was: What is your Priceless Moment?  We had such great responses from everyone that it is really difficult to choose one that stood out.  But, I gotta go with my brother Paul’s posting:

“Now that I have finished my breakfast of eggs, sausage, potatoes, biscuits and bacon (all homemade), I can give my priceless moments. The birth of my three children. Each is unique, bright, creative, and smart (even if I have to pull that off of number three). The day I meant my wife. She stole my heart and soul. She made me realize what life could be with your soul mate. I know there were times when I pushed the bounds of our relationship. We forged thru. The bond we have now is indeed priceless. The third priceless moment is very selfish. The day our beloved mother passed away (Mother's Day), I was able to be there to say goodbye, and tell her how much I loved her. I wanted to thank her for all that she did for us. I know my Mom sacrificed her life for us. She taught us to be strong, productive, caring, responsible adults. Priceless indeed!!!!!!” 

Big bro, there is nothing that I can add.  Excellent!

So, without any further adieu, let’s get to today’s topic.  First the rules:

Rule #1 – Absolutely no politics allowed
Rule #2 – ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS ALLOWED!

With that said, let’s begin.  Take a bite of the pigs-in-a-blanket, and a good long sip of that caffè latte, and let’s get started on this 2nd day of October 2011.

Each generation has a moment which defines it.  But, for each person that moment may be different.  I have spoken to many of the World War II generation (What Tom Brokaw deemed “The Greatest Generation” and I have no argument with that), and they would give differing answers on what moment was the definitive moment of their time.  Some said it was December 7th 1941 – A Date which will live in infamy..” Others have said that it was the day President Roosevelt died.

I grew up during the turbulent 1960s and 70, so there were many events that I can point to.  Of course there were the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.  In fact, Robert Kennedy’s assassination occurred just six blocks from my house in 1968.  Woodstock, Kent State, I could go on and on.  Of course the backdrop to that controversial time was the war in Vietnam.  With all of that craziness swirling around during those years, the moment – for me - that really sticks out in my mind that defined the times occurred July 20th 1969.  With the war still raging and civil unrest occurring throughout the United States, NASA sent a three-man crew to land on the moon.  First let me say that I was one of those kids who was a total space geek.  I knew all of the astronauts names, the names of the spacecrafts.  I can remember sitting in the living room and looking at the grainy black & white images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface (with Mike Collins circling in the lunar module).  Like a lot of people, I ran out of the house and looked up to the moon thinking that I could maybe somehow see them.  It was the culmination of ten years of blood, sweat and tears and it ushered in an era of scientific discovery that still reverberates today.  Without the space program, there would be no computers, no cell phones and most importantly, no Velcro (smiles).  In the face of so much uncertainty, a group of brilliant scientists and courageous astronauts did what was unthinkable just a few years earlier.

So, my question this week is: What moment defined your life and times?

Is it the fall of the Berlin Wall?  9/11?  It can be any moment but it has to be your moment.  So, take another bite of the pigs-in-a-blanket and one more sip of the caffe latte and start writing.  Remember as always, have fun with it.

Catch you all on the flipside…..