Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bob Dylan - November 19, 2012 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Review by Leo
November 20, 2012 01:31AM 

We (my husband and I) just got back from the concert. We live fairly close to the Wells Fargo Center.  We left our house at 4:30, the plan being to get their early enough to get a good parking spot and not have to walk so far from the parking lot to the venue.  However, once we got there my husband decided he was not going to pay 25.00 to park, so he dropped me off at the restaurant complex and then drove to another location, Philabundance (our local food bank), and parked the truck there for free, then walked back and met me at the Spectrum Grill. The walk took him about 15 minutes.  We ordered 12.00 burgers that were burnt and we had to scrape the burnt outsides of the burgers off. Oh, well.  We sat around in the restaurant killing time before walking up a couple blocks to the WF Center.

Everything was orderly, no big lines.  They scanned our two $20.00 Sandy tickets (thanks for the tip, Blue-Eyed) and we had decent seats in section 111 row 7 to the right of the stage.  I thought the audience was very unenthusiastic, except for the odd few scattered here and there.  My husband is not a fan of Dylan, but he goes to the concerts with me and makes the most of it for my sake.  He was seated next to a guy with very long hair who kept flicking it (his hair) in the direction of my husband.  After about an hour of this my husband was really getting pissed and said to me "I wish to hell that guy would put his hair in a pony tail.  I can't take much more of his hair flicking."  Almost immediately the guy pulled his hair back and put it in a pony tail and then he and his friend changed their seats to another row.    Mark Knopfler and his band were excellent, the violinist and the piano player were superb. 

Exit Mark & Co., enter Dylan and his band.  I had a pen and a small tablet in my coat pocket, along with a very small flash light, the kind you use to find the keyhole in your front door when you come home late at night and forgot to leave the porch light on.   I brought these items because I was determined to jot down each song Dylan performed along with notes about the performance.  I say I was determined because the last few concerts I attended, I found to my dismay, that I could not for the life of me remember what songs he did due to the fact that I have poor short term memory and also because several of the songs I did not recognize.  As luck would have it, when I pulled the pen from my pocket the tip flew off and rolled down the floor.  So much for that idea.  

1. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - This warmed me up and got me in the mood, Bob's voice was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the number from start to finish.

2. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (with Mark Knopfler on guitar)  So-so.  More spoken than sung.  I was disappointed because it's a favorite of mine.
3. Things Have Changed (with Mark Knopfler on guitar) Another so-so.  Spoken, croaked.
4. Tangled Up In Blue (with Mark Knopfler on guitar) Aah, I was never crazy about this song anyway, even more so tonight.

5. Early Roman Kings - From his latest album: Tempest.  Absolutely fantastic.  I wanted to dance but didn't because our stadium seating was tight and I didn't want to obstruct anyone's view.  His voice was terrific and the band was fantastic.  Love the rhythm of this song.

6. Chimes Of Freedom - Ah, it started out so beautiful, Bob on the piano and me so happy at this first opportunity fto hear this song live.   Again, his voice was very good, but about 3/4 of the way through something strange happened and the song became something other than Chimes of Freedom.  I think he got confused and started playing the melody of a different song but still singing the COF lyrics.  I found myself wondering how he was going to fit the lyrics into that melody.  He managed to do it, but it was disconcerting.

7. Rollin' And Tumblin' - I'd give him a B on this one.  It was a little better than mediocre.

8. Desolation Row - This was the BRAVO of the night.  I was enthralled.  Bob's voice was stupendous, his enunciation was perfect, his piano playing was fabulous.  I would forgive him any of the night's blunders on the merit of what he did this night with this song.  It made me remember why I love Bob Dylan and why I've been a devoted fan for  forty plus years.  Thank you Bob and God Bless You.

9. Highway 61 Revisited - This seemed to be very well accepted by the audience, I wasn't crazy about it, but maybe that's because it was kind of a let down after the previous high of Desolation Row. 
10. Mississippi - He murdered it.  That's all I have to say about that.  And I love Mississippi when he does it right.  Too much barking, not enough singing, and that's a sin considering it's such a wonderful melody. 
11. Thunder On The Mountain - I didn't recognize it.  I thought at first it was Cat's In The Well.  I asked some people in back of me if they knew what song it was.  They shook their heads no.  Oh, well. 
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man - I'd give him an A- on this one.  The chill factor was missing for me.  It didn't have that sense of intrigue and mystery that I associate with a great version of it, but it was still good enough for me to drum the rhytmn with my feet and rock my body in my seat. 
13. Like A Rolling Stone -  We left in the middle of this song.  It was good, but we had a long walk to the truck and I wanted to leave before the crowd started piling out. 

14. Band intros
15. All Along The Watchtower
16. (encore break)
17. Blowin' In The Wind 

One more thing I would like to note.  When Mark was on stage the lighting was good enough to allow me to see everyone in the band clearly.  When Bob got on stage the lights were so dim as to be almost non-existent.  I couldn't tell who was who and had to strain my eyes to find Bob in the mix, relying on that stripe down his black pants to let me know if he was standing in the middle of the stage or  at the piano on the right. 

The walk to the truck was not pleasant.  The temperature had dropped and the wind picked up, by the time we got to Philabundance parking lot I had an earache from the cold.

The show was an experience I will cherish and remember.  Bob has changed so much over the years, and so have I.  To sum it up I would liken the experience to visiting your hometown and trying to absorb and accept the many changes, the old familiar landmarks gone, strange new ones in their place. Or, going to visit a favorite uncle who's been acting kind of weird lately, who says strange things that make no sense to you, but who welcomes you into his home with a cold beer, shuffles around his kitchen in some crazy get-up searching the cabinets and refrigerator for something tasty to feed you. And then, when you sit down at his table with your plate of saltines and sardines, he pulls out a box of photographs to relive the old days with you, all the while, maintaining his dignity even though some of the family are plotting to put him in a home if he doesn't mind his p's & q's. You've got to love him and when you leave you feel happy that he's still alive and you were able to spend some quality time with him.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mary Gauthier - Troubadour of Truth

(Photo by Rodney Bursell)

Excerpt from review by Richard Haslop - Critical CD 

"Her life and the people in it provided wonderful material for her songs, but The Foundling took her, and indeed most, autobiographical songwriting to an entirely new level. Gauthier had been given up for adoption at birth and after half a lifetime of going off the rails and getting back on them, she tracked down a mother who didn’t want to meet her. The Foundling is that story, and she tells it without blinking, without self-pity, and in a way that makes its lessons — the acceptance of what life throws at you and the redemption to be found in that acceptance — applicable to all of us."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Torricella Peligna

Nicola Teti and Maria Piccoli
with baby son Vincenzo and daughter Antonia

Before the War (1920)

After the War 

(Photo courtesy of Pierluigi Marsigli)
Torricella Peligna is the birthplace of my paternal grandparents, Nicola Teti and Maria Piccoli, who came to the United States in 1898.  Photographs and information for this blog taken from .Torricella Peligna website with heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the immense wealth of their wonderful website. 

Dear friends,

Today I’m sending you another comparison between two photos of the same place taken at least 80 years apart. It is the zone of the "Coste". The first is the present day, taken last year by Pierluigi Marsigli. The second is an old photo taken in about the 1920’s, or at least before the bombing of the Second World War. The difference is extraordinary, a settlement of so many houses then - and just a few, mainly uninhabited ones, now. You can still see the baronial palace that not so long ago was also used as a prison. There, on the rubble of this palace that was of medieval origin, now bombed and razed to the ground, is the tower, the monument to civilian victims.

At the time of the photo, the population of Torricella was about 5,000 inhabitants and the "Coste" quarter was the most densely populated part of the village. It was mostly inhabited by peasants and craftsmen. Most of the houses had a stable on the ground floor, for the donkey or for some sheep or goats. Early in the mornings, they left from here to go to the fields and returned at dusk with the donkey laden with "fascette", (bundles of twigs) or with "jerva medica" (medicinal herbs). The donkey led the way in front and the master came behind attached to the tail so he could be pulled up the little alleyways.

As in all old villages, the oldest part of Torricella, the nucleus, was built on a rocky base.
This provided safety and the houses could be built without foundations. The “Coste”, moreover, are in a southerly position, so they’re always exposed to the sun, indispensable for surviving the winters' cold and snow. The base of the "Coste" is composed of limestone, the same rock as the Majella, a very hard, compact rock. When one goes to Torricella it is always enchanting to go for a walk along the alleyways of the "Coste", amongst the steep stairways and little uphill paths, or else to go and look out from the terrace of the “piazzetta” (small square), beneath the tower, where there is a 360 degree panorama, from Mount Porrara to Mount Amaro, from Guardiagrele to the sea, from the mountains of Molise to the Pizzi mountains.

Antonio Piccoli

Sant’Agata Massacre & More

Nicoletta Di Luzio 1949
I only hate violence  
I have done everything to survive. I dedicated myself to my children. I never worked; I never felt well. Six or seven years ago I began to feel detached from those facts and to speak about them. My relatives have often asked me if I felt animosity or hatred towards the Germans. Nothing. Just indifference. I wonder whether these things can be of interest to anyone else. I have only told this to my nieces and nephews. One lives badly if filled with hate. I only hate violence.  Yes, this is something I can say with certainty. 
  I declare that I am Nicoletta Di Luzio, daughter of Domenico Di Luzio and Maria Cionna, both deceased. I am 16 years old, and I lived with my family in Torricella Peligna until the end of 1943, at which time the Germans ordered us to leave the town. At first we settled in an area called Santa Giusta, and then later, we settled into an abandoned house in a small inhabited area called Sant’Agata. We arrived there around June 19, 1944. Besides myself, there was my mother, my sister, Vincenzina, my two brothers, Leonardo and Antonio, my uncle, Camillo Cionna, my aunt, Rosina Di Paolo, and their 4 children, Enzo, Gemma, Annamaria and Anita.

Around 5 am on June 21, 1944, we were awoken by German soldiers who broke into our house. They shouted "raus, raus", and they made us get out of bed. They didn’t say anything else. My mother lit the fireplace, but the Germans threw water on it and put it out. Two soldiers remained at the door as guards while the others went out and gathered more people to bring into the room. One of them threw a grenade towards the door of the room. Then he closed the door and held it closed from outside with a rope. When the grenade exploded there was a lot of smoke, and I thought he wanted to gas us. Then I heard a woman cry out that she was wounded, and I then understood that it was grenade. Then, from outside the Germans threw around 30 grenades towards the fireplace in the room.

There were two sorts of grenades, one, which they unhooked by pulling a ring with their finger, and one, which they unhooked with their teeth. I was seated next to the fireplace holding in my arms my 6-year-old cousin, Annamaria. When the third grenade went off, she died. After the Germans stopped throwing grenades, there were dead and disfigured people all over the room and a big hole in the floor. Some of the dead and wounded fell through this hole to the barn below. I had not been wounded, and in an effort to escape, I fell through the hole to the barn below. I tried to hide under the bodies of a man and my aunt. I managed only partially because the bodies were so heavy.

A little later a German soldier entered the barn and looked around. I pretended to be dead. He was just above me, and he burned my neck with a cigarette lighter. I didn’t move, and I heard him say "Kaputt". Then he went out. Then I saw through a hole that the Germans brought some hay and spread it on the bodies. They then poured some liquid on the hay and lit it. Later I moved over to where my two brothers were hiding in a trough. My brother Leonardo tried to escape from the barn, but the Germans shot at him with a machine gun as soon as he took a step outside the barn door. He died near the door.

Later on, the smoke got so strong that I couldn’t stay any longer, and so I tried to escape. As I started to go outside the door, I saw a German soldier, and he saw me. I turned around in an effort to turn back, but he shot at me and the bullet hit me in the back. I fell down in the barn, and I remained outstretched on the ground for some time. My brother was still in the trough. I heard him weep and say that he wanted to get out, and that since all his family was dead, he wanted to die as well. So, I went to the trough and remained with him.

There was less smoke in the barn because the door had remained open. After about an hour, when all was calm, I left the barn with my brother, and we went to a neighbouring farmhouse. A lady and her daughter took my brother and me to Gessopalena where they medicated my wounds. The German soldiers were from an alpine division, and I would be able to recognize them if I saw them because I had seen them previously in front of our house in Torricella Peligna.

The above declaration is true, and the descriptions I have given come from my observations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trinity of Monkeys

Trinity of Monkeys
I have no choice
but to believe
in this asylum.
Its easy windows
and benevolent doors
opening and closing
as if by grace
to shelter love
and repudiate discord.
How many martyrs
have tried and failed
to die for love?

It comes as no surprise to me
that evil does as evil sees
so I have drawn the curtains
and I have pulled the shades.

What's that I hear?
An angel choir
singing high above desire
"come to me sweet slave of life."
Or is it fear
numb and weak
of souls on ice
who blindly seek
the fires of hell?
An endless shriek
to one with ears
but to me
only the hum of eternity.

I could speak
of this and that thing.
Of hell on earth.
What good would that bring?
Of evil deeds and evil doers
of minds gone mad
of hearts on skewers.
I could breath
the stench of sewers
onto this pure white page.
I prefer
to keep my mouth shut.

by Leo

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sock Puppets, Meat Puppets, Bag Heads, Straw Men and Fakesters

Invasion of the Sock Puppets

The students filed in and sat in their seats
a genuine few among liars and cheats
Some were festooned with regalia galore
buttons and badges and emblems of war
Some were corrupt while others were pure
some smelled like flowers, some like manure
"Everyone's equal and everyone's free
You to be you and me to be me."

That was their motto and that was their cry
That was their truth and that was their lie.
The teacher stood at the head of the class
calling the name of each lad and each lass.
Here said Delphinium. Here said Bernard.
Here Here said Tallulah and Jack Beauregard.
I'm present said Rudolph, me two said Lenore
me three said Bonita and Jim said me four.
While Evelyn said in a voice so demure
"I'll see you on that Jim and raise you two more."

Here here, said the teacher
You're all out of order
Stop changing your seat
Stop crossing the border
How, said the teacher, can you be Drew
when just minutes ago you claimed to be Hugh?
I heard you quite clearly from the back row,
your hand in the air, your voice like a crow

"That wasn't me Mam, I'm just who I said,
honest and true Mam, my name is Fred.
I've always been Fred, Mam
right from the beginning
I'd never lie because lying is sinning."
A big spit ball hit Fred in the head.

After a while the teacher went nutty
fearing she no longer knew anybody.
Whoever said "here" was not really there
but somebody else who sat in their chair.
Whoever said "present" was probably not,
but sitting elsewhere like a plant in a pot.
She couldn't be sure anymore who was who;
who was real who was fake,
who was false who was true.
She went to the lounge, she needed a break
and when she came back in her seat there was Jake.

Now Jake he was quite an amicable type
good manners, no back talk, no hand jive, no hype
She said "My good man, I really do wish
you'd get back in your seat over there by the fish."
"You must be confused mam," this Jake he replied,
"I'm not Jake at all, I'm his twin brother Clyde."

At that she collapsed and fell to the floor
and on the way down said "You're driving me batty
I don't even know my own name anymore.
Is it Isabelle? Lydia? Mattie?
To hell with you all, I no longer care
Do what you will, sit anywhere."

In unison all of the students guffawed
and stamped their feet amazed
that a teacher's thinking could be so flawed
Bartholomew shouted "she must be dazed!"
"It was that fall, I'll bet," shouted Yvette
"Somebody give her a beer," said Paul
who doubled as Geoffrey and tripled as Saul.
And Hank who sometimes went by Mary
said "roll on floor laugh my ass off"
While Richard known as Dick or Harry
uttered his usual "cough expletive cough."

And then came the soliloquy
delivered by Sue aka Marie
one never could be too sure
in determining who was who anymore.
Either would do, it did not matter,
since each was surely mad as a hatter.
Up on the teacher's desk she stood
" Listen up people and listen up good"
Then on one foot like Jethro Tull
she said, "Being me is never dull."

And then to prove it, snapped her thong.
A drum roll ensued. She broke into song.

Ballad of the Fakesters

The teacher sits upon the floor
propped up against a rubber door
has she not heard it's a new day,
it's a new dawn?
Does she not know what's going on?
That all the old rules have been flung
out the window like so much dung
to which only fools now clung
fools, and those poor hangers-on
of idealism, realism.
Nothing more that empty prattle!

We are not chattel, we are not cattle,
to be fed on old school bullshitism
an idiotic catechism  to be sure
Nothing more. Nothing more.
What nerve of this teacher.
What nerve of this creature,
expecting each and every one
to sheepishly comply,
to  be I and only I,
to be me and always me,
never to be he or she,
us or we, they or them.
It boggles the minds
and represses all kinds
of mischief, deception and foolery.
The very stuff we thrive on.
The stuff we keep alive on.
Well we shan't have it!
No, we shan't have it!
No single identity for us.
We're riding on a separate bus
It's big and it's orange
we call it Halloween.
From it's windows
we can be seen
at fools like you
who sit and drool
over a pool
of your precious truth.

by Leo

Saturday, November 10, 2012


OTHER LANGUAGES: Gjon (Albanian), Yahya (Arabic), Hovhannes (Armenian), Ganix, Ion, Jon (Basque), Ioannes (Biblical Greek), Yehochanan, Yochanan (Biblical Hebrew), Iohannes (Biblical Latin), Yann, Yanick, Yannic, Yannick (Breton), Ioan, Ivan, Yan, Yoan, Ivo, Yanko (Bulgarian), Joan (Catalan), Jowan (Cornish), Ghjuvan (Corsican), Ivan, Ivica, Ivo, Janko, Vanja (Croatian), Ivan, Jan, Johan, Honza, Janek (Czech), Jens, Jannick, Jannik (Danish), Jan, Johan, Johannes, Hanne, Hannes, Hans, Jo, Joop (Dutch), Johano, Joĉjo (Esperanto), Jaan, Johannes, Juhan (Estonian), Jani, Janne, Johannes, Joni, Jouni, Juhana, Juhani, Hannes, Hannu, Juha, Juho, Jukka, Jussi (Finnish), Jean, Yann, Jeannot, Yanick, Yannic, Yannick (French), Xoán (Galician), Jan, Johan, Johann, Johannes, Hanke, Hannes, Hans, Jo (German), Ioannes, Ioannis, Yanni, Yannis, Yianni, Yiannis (Greek), Keoni (Hawaiian), Yochanan (Hebrew), János, Jancsi, Jani, Janika (Hungarian), Jóhann, Jóhannes, Jón (Icelandic), Eoin, Sean, Seán, Shane (Irish), Giovanni, Gian, Gianni, Giannino, Nino, Vanni (Italian), Johannes, Joannes (Late Roman), Jānis (Latvian), Sjang, Sjeng (Limburgish), Jonas (Lithuanian), Ivan, Jovan, Ivo (Macedonian), Ean, Juan (Manx), Hann, Jan, Jon, Hankin, Jackin, Jankin (Medieval English), Jehan (Medieval French), Zuan (Medieval Italian), Jens (Norwegian), Iwan, Jan, Janusz, Janek (Polish), João, Joãozinho (Portuguese), Ioan, Ion, Iancu, Ionel, Ionuț, Nelu (Romanian), Ioann, Ivan, Vanya (Russian), Jan, Johan, Johannes, Jon, Hans (Scandinavian), Eoin, Iain, Ian (Scottish), Ivan, Jovan, Ivo, Janko, Vanja (Serbian), Ján, Janko (Slovak), Ivan, Jan, Janez, Žan, Anže, Janko (Slovene), Iván, Juan, Xuan, Juanito (Spanish), Jens, Hampus, Hasse, Janne (Swedish), Yahya (Turkish), Ivan (Ukrainian), Evan, Iefan, Ieuan, Ifan, Ioan, Iwan, Siôn, Ianto (Welsh)

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Queen of Queens & Church of the Holy Sepulchre

A statue of the Virgin Mary stands amid rubble in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, N.Y.,
after fire destroyed at least 80 homes there as Sandy hit the beachfront community.

Christian clergymen hold candles inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. A clergyman from the church built on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified said Friday that its bank account has been frozen as the result of a long-standing dispute with an Israeli water company. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)