The Pandumbic

 

“If you laugh with somebody,
then you share something.”
Trevor Noah

 

Trevor Noah

When the Coronavirus pandemic began, all the late-night shows such as The Tonight Show, The Late, Late Show and even Stephen Colbert began broadcasting their shows from home, usually their significant other filming their host husbands.

There was one show I had not watched before and that was  The Daily Show with host Trevor Noah. However, that changed when I began watching Trevor along with the other daily YouTube late night shows.

If you’re not familiar with Trevor Noah, he’s a 36-year old South African comedian, political commentator, writer and television host of The Daily Show. Born in Johannesburg, he began his career in 2002 as a comedian, presenter, and actor in South Africa. After coming to America in 2011, he became the first South African comedian to appear on The Tonight Show in the summer of 2013. As his popularity grew and Trevor became a recurring contributor on The Daily Show, he replaced Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show September 28, 2015.

I was a fan of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show but I must admit I stopped watching after he retired. I didn’t even give Trevor Noah a chance to show his talent. I now regret I did that, after becoming a diehard fan of Trevor.

After a few months of watching him on the Daily Show, I read his 2016 book, Born A Crime. He writes about growing up in South Africa, a child of interracial parents and apartheid South Africa. Trevor was kept mostly indoors in his youth by his mother, for fear that at any moment the government could take him away from her because of his interracial status. In South Africa before 1985, it was a crime to have interracial marriages as well as have an interracial child, hence the title of the book, Born a Crime. Against all odds, this smart, handsome, talented young comedian has made his way to the top. In my opinion, Born a Crime should be required reading for all young people.

If you don’t have cable, you can watch him on YouTube. Here’s a recent segment of  The Daily Social Distancing Show from July 22, 2020 he calls, The Pandumbic:

Shine On

Icon of American Art

“People should take time to be happy.”
  Grandma Moses

grandma-moses-painting1

The Old Checkered House, 1943 oil on pressed wood

 

I have quite a few hobbies, but there’s one I really enjoy, drawing and watercolor painting. It’s one hobby that can put me into that zone of a perfect “flow”.

There are many artists I admire and try to emulate. When I started drawing and painting again in my 60’s, my late husband would kid me about becoming the next Grandma Moses. I always admired her recognizable Naïve art style, but knew little about the woman, so I read her 1952 autobiography.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known throughout the world as “Grandma Moses” was born September 7, 1860 in Greenwich, New York. In her 101-year life span, she witnessed the Civil War, a pandemic, two World Wars, the advent of the telegraph, the telephone, automobiles, airplanes and countless other innovations. She had always dabbled in the field of art all her life but it was only after all 10 of her children were grown and the burden of farm life lifted, did she begin painting full time.

Her life is really the story of twentieth-century folk art. Although she was not the first folk artist, she was the most well known throughout history and the world. How did she come to be so revered? The answer would appear to lie in a combination of factors. The nature of the field, the personality of the artist, and timing, which we all know is everything.

She had just turned 80 when in the 1940s Americans were reeling from the effects of a prolonged financial depression and filled with dread of rising fascism in Europe. In this time of tribulation, she emerged as an artist whose work embodied everything that seemed good about America.

She painted scenes of the farms and small towns that were then either the present or the near past for many citizens. She proclaimed the virtues of family, church, community and the nation at a moment when these were under attack from without and within, and she lived these virtues. Her basic honesty, generosity and good-heartedness shined forth both in her life and in her art.

grandma-moses-life-cover

When her paintings began to sell for sizable sums, she became the first artist whose work was routinely licensed for such products as greetings cards, textiles, and the like. In 1953 she appeared on the cover of Time magazine. In 1955 she was interviewed on live television by Edward R. Murrow. Then, for her 100th birthday on September 19, 1960, Life magazine did a cover story to celebrate this remarkable woman.

Grandma Moses passed away on December 13, 1961, at the age of 101, having witnessed a broad swath of American history. She was born the year Lincoln was elected, and died while Kennedy was president.

Both her work and her legend endures here and abroad. This reflects not only the quality of her work but also the fact that she remains an icon of American art.

Shine On

Time Traveling

“Once confined to fantasy and science fiction,
time travel is now simply an engineering problem.”
Michio Kaku

Mr Peabody

Mr. Peabody, his boy Sherman and the “Wayback Machine”

The concept of traveling backward and forward in time has always held my fascination. My interest began as a child. Introduced to the idea of time travel by none other than Mr. Peabody and his Wayback machine.

Conceptually, time travel goes back several centuries. Long before H. G. Wells wrote the book, The Time Machine, Japanese, Hindu, and Buddhist all wrote about time travel. In more recent times, people such as Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku have discussed the possibilities of traveling back and forth in time.

Time travel will forever be one of my favorite genres of novels and movies. Whether I’m reading Stephen King’s novel 11/26/63 or watching, Midnight in Paris, and Back to the Future for the hundredth time, the idea of going back to a time before I existed will always hold my interest in time traveling.

Shine On

Have We Met Before?

“Don’t grieve.
Anything you lose
comes round in
another form.”
Rumi

Have We Met Before?

Ryan’s memories hinted, he was a movie extra named Marty Martyn

 

 

The nightly national news reporter caught my attention. For a moment, I thought I was watching the “Syfy Channel”. He was reporting about a boy named Ryan who told his mother that he believed he lived as someone else.

Five year old Ryan told his mom, he used to be somebody else — and that somebody was someone who kept company with old Hollywood stars, danced on Broadway, and worked in the movies, according to his dreams and memories.

Everyone is curious about what happens after we die. Some believe in a heaven and hell. Some believe in ghosts. Some believe when we die that’s it, we are gone for good. But, there are some who believe in reincarnation. For me, I need proof to convince me about most subjects, especially on the subject of death. However, the story about Ryan piqued my curiosity.

For more than a decade, Dr. Jim Tucker, associate professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, studied the cases of children, usually between the ages of 2 and 6 years old, who say they remember a past life. In his book, Return to Life, Tucker details some of the more than 2,500 cases he has studied over the years, including Ryan — who claims he is the reincarnation of a man who died more than 50 years ago. That man, Marty Martyn, was a former movie extra who later became a powerful Hollywood agent.

The following is an excerpt from Tucker’s book and the chapter “He Came From Hollywood.”

We were able to piece together a picture of Marty Martyn’s life, and we could compare it to Ryan’s statements. In most of our cases, people have tried to see if a deceased person could be identified whose life matched the statements the child had made. Here, there was only one guy that Ryan could have been talking about, because he had pointed to him in a picture. We weren’t trying to see if there was anyone whose life matched Ryan’s statements; we were looking to see if Marty Martyn’s did.

What we found was that though Ryan was off on some of the details, a lot of what he said was correct for Marty Martyn. It had seemed unlikely that an extra with no lines would have danced on Broadway, had a big house with a swimming pool, and traveled the world on big boats. But Marty Martyn did.

Marty was born in Philadelphia in 1903. Ryan had talked a lot about a sister and also mentioned another one, and Marty had two sisters. His mother had curly brown hair, as Ryan as said. Ryan was right about dancing in New York, as Marty and one of his sisters went to New York to be dancers. He danced in various reviews on Broadway, and his sister became a well-known dancer there.

Marty then moved to Los Angeles, having a life in Hollywood as Ryan had described. He began as an extra as well as a dance director. He then became a Hollywood agent, not the secret agent kind but a talent agent. He set up the Marty Martyn Agency, where he had notable clients such as Glenn Ford. Ryan had talked about people changing their names with the agency, which would certainly be true for a talent agency. Marty had several connections to Rita Hayworth, and his daughter confirmed he probably did know her. He may well have interacted with Marilyn Monroe as well, as his wife’s family knew her.

Marty was a big sunbather, getting sunburns as Ryan had mentioned. Ryan said he used to take girlfriends to see the ocean, and there are pictures of Marty with girls on the beach. He enjoyed going there and watching surfers, which Ryan had said as well.

Marty was married four times. He became quite wealthy, and he and his last wife enjoyed an upscale lifestyle. Ryan said he had driven around Hollywood in a green car and that his wife drove a nice black car. Well, Marty’s wife didn’t actually do the driving, but they had a custom-made Rolls-Royce that was presumably a nice car. Ryan remembered an African American maid, and Marty and his wife had a number of them. Ryan said he owned a piano, and Marty had pianos in his house. The family lived in a fine house with a large swimming pool, as Ryan had described. Ryan said his address had Rock or Mount in it. And Marty Martyn’s last house, that fine home with the big swimming pool? It was located at 825 N. Roxbury.

So, when I meet someone for the very first time and have a deja vu moment, I always wonder, have we met before?

Shine On

Good Reads

“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.”
Joseph Addison

good-reads

I enjoy reading since I was as a child. With the introduction of eBooks and OverDrive, books are easily accessible. This year I decided to double the number of books I read each week. I’m enjoying reading so much, that if I continue to read at this rate, I’ll exceed my 2020 book goal of 100 books.

For the past six years, I’ve been using the website “good reads”. It allows me to add books easily when I hear of a book I want to read. Not to mention, give reviews of books, follow my favorite authors and best of all, it keeps track of all my “good reads”.

Shine On