Downton Abbey


Ok, so the story goes like this…I was attending a preview event for the upcoming Mary Poppins The Musical Tour where Thomas Schumacher was presenting. After Q & A with Richard Sherman, and getting to hear Mary Poppins and Bert sing live, Mr. Schumacher said to the crowd, “There’s a terrific show you should watch, it’s called Downton Abbey” Now it is important to mention that this was before it had even premiered in the US. Because of his suggestion many years ago we have been able to enjoy this all along.

Downton Abbey is a period British Drama.

From wikipedia: “The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house, the seat of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the reign of King George V. The first series opens at the end of the Edwardian era in 1912 with news of the family heir’s death aboard the Titanic, spanning the two years before the Great War. The second series covered the years 1916 to 1919, and the 2011 Christmas Special covered the 1919 Christmas period, ending in early 1920. The third series picks up soon afterwards, covering 1920 through the autumn of 1921. The fourth series covers a six-month period between February and August 1922, while the 2013 Christmas special was set in summer 1923.”

Now in it’s 5th year it is still as beautiful, well-written, gorgeously costumed and decorated as it was it’s first season.












Brainy Quotes


Brainy Quote is a website dedicated to organizing inspiring, thoughtful quotes. Gathering them together under the authors or by topics. They also have picture quotes (some I’ve posted below).

It seems I visit the website at least once a week. Sometimes just looking for the right thing to say, or searching for some inspiration. It’s another positive example of what the internet can do.




Classically Disney


So, true to a weekly fascination, I have been listening to the Classically Disney CD all week during my commute to work. This instrumental collection of Disney music is pretty terrific. The string quartet arrangements provide a fresh new approach to some familiar songs. However, I have to admit that the ballads are my favorite. Somehow string instruments work really well with A Whole New World, Beauty & The Beast, When She Loved Me, When You Wish Upon A Star, Kiss The Girl, and Feed The Birds.

And instrumental music can be so great in allowing your mind to fill in the space, fill in the lyrics, and see the songs in a new light.

From Amazon: “A collection of string quartet interpretations of Disney Standards. Classically Disney features 15 Disney favorites including A Whole New World, The Bare Necessities and Feed the Birds. Tracks •When You Wish Upon a Star performed by the Disney String Quartet •Heffalumps and Woozles performed by the Disney String Quartet •Beauty and the Beast performed by the Disney String Quartet •The Bare Necessities performed by the Disney String Quartet •When She Loved Me performed by the Disney String Quartet •Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) performed by the Disney String Quartet •A Whole New World performed by the Disney String Quartet •Cruella De Vil performed by the Disney String Quartet •Some Day My Prince Will Come performed by the Disney String Quartet •Jolly Holiday performed by the Disney String Quartet •A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes performed by the Disney String Quartet •Grim Grinning Ghosts performed by the Disney String Quartet •Kiss the Girl performed by the Disney String Quartet •Feed the Birds performed by the Disney String Quartet •There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow performed by the Disney String Quartet”


WHIPLASH+onesheet[1]Whiplash is a film from 2014 that is gaining award accolaides and may be up for an Oscar for Best Picture. It tells the story of an aspiring drummer (Mile Teller), and the Music Teacher at an elite conservatory (J.K. Simmons). It seems assured that J.K. Simmons will be nominated for his work. The film asks many questions about the pursuit of becoming an artist. What are the costs? Is it destiny? Can a teacher push too far? Can the teacher help the artist reach their full potential? And at what point is it abusive? What point is too much? Or is that what it takes?

The music and dynamics of the film make it thrilling and challenging. Would be surpised if you were not on the edge of your seat near the climactic conclusion. Check it out, Whiplash. People are going to be talking about this one.




Pope Francis


Pope Francis is making quite an impact. From diplomatic relations with Cuba, to homosexuality, to women’s role’s in the church. But the one which caught my attention was this response to a boy’s question about dogs going to heaven:

“One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” the pontiff said, according to Italian news sources.

However, it turns out this was misinterpreted. As I am sure most things are. Major newspapers reported the story and it was even trending on social media.

From Today “Pope Francis never actually commented on the issue of whether dogs will do to heaven. According to Vatican Radio, the Pope said to a general audience (not a distraught boy as originally reported): “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.”

And therein is a lesson for us all. The internet tells us many things, but it is up to us to properly follow through with research and confirm details before it becomes a story that just is not true.


But regarding Pope Francis. He is making quite an impact and appears to be open to new ideas and new ways of approaching controversial issues. Or maybe it’s just the internet reinterpreting the facts.


Either way, Happy Holidays!