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Middle Agezz

Middle Agezz

Pat Colander's commentary on life as we know it and its aspects that surprise, delight and sometimes frighten us.

Distant Horizons

Distant Horizons

A travel section for mature readers exploring places you've always wanted to go and places you need to add to your list.

Media Watcher

Media Watcher

Find out the latest about must-sees in television, films, and other forms of entertainment not to be missed.

Generations

Generations

Gain some insight on family and relationships, and the perks and quirks we find living among different generations.

Device Devotee

Device Devotee

A roundup of technically cool stuff for tablets and smartphones that really works.

60 Something

60 Something

A weekly column by Denise DeClue - a semi-retired part-time professional former-screenwriter seasonally living in Beverly Shores.

Small Business Citizenship: The Full-Participation Practice of Dr. Gus Galante

Small Business Citizenship: The Full-Participation Practice of Dr. Gus Galante
October 11, 2014 2:30 pm  • 

Many people know who Dr. Gus Galante is by sight, before they are introduced, simply because he is everywhere. Really. Not on billboards or social networking but physically present and often in a leadership role. Because as much as Dr. Galante believes in community commitment and involvement, he believes in participation and giving by doing is as important as making financial contributions. He does both and has for many years.

There are a half-dozen groups he works with personally, though Dr. Galante supports many others. You may have seen him recently in the Hospice Hustle, a cycling event held each year in September at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point. The event he co-founded in 2005 now attracts dozens of participants and has a 25-, a 62-, and a 100-mile route to raise money for Hospice of the Calumet Area. As Dr. Galante explains, in addition to being a doctor, he is a small businessman with a strong sense of social justice and responsibility, so his involvements tend to be long-term.

Another cause he is closely aligned with is his work with the nonprofit Breast Oasis, an organization that refurbishes and distributes new and gently-used bras to women who need and cannot afford them.

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Modern Ambience: Heard but seldom seen, anti-social, random music is massive

Modern Ambience: Heard but seldom seen, anti-social, random music is massive
September 20, 2014 10:30 pm  • 

There is no easy way to enter this realm, nor is there a clear path back to the origination of the sound creation known as ambient music. When music scholars try to pinpoint where and when this kind of atmospheric music originated, most say that in the 1970s when the use of the synthesizer as an electronic tool in music-making became commonplace, ambient was born.

These sounds were regarded as the musical equivalent of white noise and referred to as “furniture music,” by French composer Erik Satie. Ambient music also seems to have been influenced by John Cage, the most well-known composer using randomness in the creation of his works. Jazz great Miles Davis is also used ambient sound in his experimental mood music.

Many musicians in the 1970s used electronically-produced sound as a side dish to the main course served up by mainstream musicians such a German groups Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream and other artists including Mike Oldfield, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, (the Greek-composer best known for his Academy-Award winning original musical score for the 1981 movie, “Chariots of Fire”), also Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues and David Bowie. But the use of synthesizers quickly became absorbed into multiple musical ecosystems. The only artist who distinquished himself by trying to define and promote ambient music in the 1970s was Brian Eno, who has since been identified by scholars, particularly Michael Jarrett, as the person who acknowledged, defined and promoted the genre.

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OctNov 2014 Shore Letter from the Editor

OctNov 2014 Shore Letter from the Editor
September 20, 2014 9:00 am  • 

Has all the world become a stage? Or is it just my world? So many fantasies are such common currency. While in school all the women I knew intended to become teachers, maybe there were a few who aspired to be nurses. (I attended an all-female high school, which no longer exists.) Judging by the most recent high school reunion I attended most of the women achieved their career goals, though there were a few outliers---a physician, a lawyer, an entrepreneur. But most of us secretly wanted to be rock stars: Chrissie Hynde; Joan Jett; Tina Turner; Grace Slick, Stevie Nicks, even Joni Mitchell. Always on in the spotlight and adored by millions, free from life’s dull drudgery like doing the laundry, paying the electric bill or packing your own suitcases. Once we grew up we found out even rock stars have baggage, Grace Slick almost ended up in jail on a three-strike law and Madonna had to work out six hours a day just to keep up.

There were a couple of people who did make it into the stratosphere, but never in the way anyone would have envisioned and the most popular, sought-after, supermodels-for-sure bound for the Olympics or the footlights of the Metropolitan Opera, were not heard from again. (Pay attention high-school superstars, there is an Oprah Winfrey among you, but she’s not you.) But those fantasies persist; just consider how much you spend on lottery tickets when the pot gets too impossibly large to not lay your money down. Every time I have entertained thoughts of moving somewhere I wish I was Barbra Streisand just for a day, a day when I would not have to sing, just supervise other people as they packed up my belongings.

Life is high school and yes, dreams may be deferred, but never quite go away. The most unexpected people are turning up directing Shakespeare, spending six months developing an improvised set of comedy sketches, joining workshops to develop personal narratives, pitching their stories to the Moth or more generally getting out there one way or another. Even Larry David is going to be playing himself, with a different name as he says, on Broadway. This is all about never quite getting over that star fantasy and in some cases maybe having finally figured out something you just want to say.

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MIDDLEAGEZZ: The Non-Sporting Life and What I Like About Professional Athletes

MIDDLEAGEZZ:  The Non-Sporting Life and What I Like About Professional Athletes
September 15, 2014 3:00 am  • 

A wise sportswriter once wrote that the wonderful thing about spectator sports is the fact that at the end of day whether “your” team or “your” player wins or loses may make you feel temporarily sad or disappointed or elated and brimming with joy, but the score doesn’t really matter much. Even if you are in a fantasy league or betting spreads in Las Vegas. It is just a game. Not your career. Not your health. For the average audience member, there are no real benefits or consequences. A tournament may feel like a battlefield and a good match-up like a war, but they’re neither.

I also know the wise sportswriter is cynical and wrong, although intellectually appealing. Heroes mean everything, even sports heroes. A hero can change your life.

In fourth grade, I read a book that I’ll never forget. It was not the first book I ever read, but it may have been among the first non-fiction books I had ever read. It was a biography of Babe Ruth and his not-so-hot childhood---remember I’m eight years old, assessing Babe Ruth’s childhood---and a much sanitized version of his rise to fame or fortune. But I’m just basking in these descriptions of his amazing raw talent and I’m channeling like crazy because I’m just wondering if there is anything I can be that good at if I just try. And I knew, even then, that I was just one of 100,000 or maybe 100 million little kids who filled up with hope because they read a story about Babe Ruth or somebody like him.

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The subtle message in moving away from the word 'cure' towards finding a way to 'prevent'

The subtle message in moving away from the word 'cure' towards finding a way to 'prevent'
August 19, 2014 9:01 am  • 

What we talk about when we talk about a disease that has no cure

Not so long ago when you talked about a disease that was incurable you were using a polite or tacit way of saying that to be stricken with this particular health calamity — whether a sickness or phenomenon such as a heart attack or stroke — was tantamount to a death sentence. The deadly Ebola virus has been at the top of the global health conversation for months now. But over time, there has been a crucial change in the discussion. Increasingly, the emphasis of the communication has shifted away from the scary hyperbole associated with science fiction to the more reality-based challenges of delivering health care services in parts of the world that lack a stable government, reliable infrastructure and networks for public education and communication, at a consistent level. The language surrounding medical outcomes has changed so dramatically that it is at least noteworthy.

Do you remember a time when the word “cancer” was not spoken out loud? You are not alone. Seems odd now, but when Marvella Bayh, the wife of former Senator Birch Bayh and mother of Evan Bayh, who would become governor of Indiana and after that a U.S. Senator and former Senator himself, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1960s, her decision to go public took great courage. Her bravery paid off in the sense that it lifted the veil of fear and secrecy enough that for the first time women went to the doctor and got tested. Early detection, routine now, led to treatment, which built a wide-ranging web of procedures and weapons against the disease and that produced longer remissions and increased cancer-free lifespans. And the new paradigm applied to every type of cancer, even some varieties that physicians did not know existed back then. Marvella Bayh was in remission for six very active years before cancer returned. But her life-saving communications campaign never truly ended, because a cancer research fund was set up in her name at Indiana University medical school. This year’s work is tied to genetics and a drug that may prove useful in pre-diagnosis and prevention. As Evan Bayh says, there is still talk of a cure, but also about prevention.

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60-Something: A Bridge That's Not Really Too Far

August 17, 2014 12:15 pm  • 

I learned to play bridge in high school. My parents played. I think they thought it was something like table manners, good grammar and tennis that middle class children could learn and then, later, possibly use these skills to “pass” for rich.

If, perchance, a non-debutante was invited to say, The Hamptons, for, say, The Weekend, and if she could eat soup in the proper way, with the proper spoon; speak wittily with grace; hold her own in mixed doubles; and score at the bridge table—she would be considered good company, no matter from whence she came.

Of course this was the era when our war-wounded fathers went to college on the G.I. Bill, our state universities provided fine educations for the un-wealthy, and many of us grew up believing we were “as good as” rich people.

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Modern Ambient Music: Heard but not seen, the anti-social, anti-rock-star form

Modern Ambient Music: Heard but not seen, the anti-social, anti-rock-star form
July 26, 2014 10:30 pm  • 

There is no easy way to enter this realm, nor is there a clear path back to the origination of the sound creation known as ambient music. When music scholars try to pinpoint where and when this kind of atmospheric music originated, most say that in the 1970s when the use of the synthesizer as an electronic tool in music-making became commonplace, ambient was born.

These sounds were regarded as the musical equivalent of white noise and referred to as “furniture music,” by French composer Erik Satie. Ambient music also seems to have been influenced by John Cage, the most well-known composer using randomness in the creation of his works. Jazz great Miles Davis is also used ambient sound in his experimental mood music.

Many musicians in the 1970s used electronically-produced sound as a side dish to the main course served up by mainstream musicians such a German groups Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream and other artists including Mike Oldfield, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, (the Greek-composer best known for his Academy-Award winning original musical score for the 1981 movie, “Chariots of Fire”), also Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues and David Bowie. But the use of synthesizers quickly became absorbed into multiple musical ecosystems. The only artist who distinquished himself by trying to define and promote ambient music in the 1970s was Brian Eno, who has since been identified by scholars, particularly Michael Jarrett, as the person who acknowledged, defined and promoted the genre.

Continue reading

Emotional Investor: Celebrating the Life and Digital Arts of O’Shea McCarthy

Emotional Investor: Celebrating the Life and Digital Arts of O’Shea McCarthy
July 26, 2014 10:51 am  • 

Have you ever listened to a song and been taken back to a place, a point in time or simply felt your emotions swayed by the music? O’Shea McCarthy spent hours on end building musical landscapes that were meant to illicit these feelings in the listener.

Sadly, O’Shea, who was only 25, was the victim of a deadly car accident last October and left behind many unfinished pieces, meaning he never had a chance to fully share his talents beyond his close friends and family. Nevertheless, Shea’s family and friends have come together to gather his art and music to share in a tribute to his memory and raise funds for a scholarship his mother, Heather McCarthy, has set up in his name.

Working in the ambient genre of music, O’Shea engineered tracks that would elicit powerful, visceral reactions from the listener. O’Shea believed that ambient music could transform a person’s mindset. Ambient music, an offshoot of electronic music, is not designed to have a specific effect---like electronic dance or trap music. Instead, Max Schrementi, O’Shea’s friend and collaborator, describes ambient music as “instrumental expressions of a moment or an emotion…meant to inspire the listener in the least obstructive way,” and, “not persuade the mind to one direction or another.”

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Scott Covert and the Forever Grateful Dead

Scott Covert and the Forever Grateful Dead
July 24, 2014 5:25 pm  • 

He who immortalizes the immortal through his innovative and diverse works, creates art impulsively and quickly standing in cemeteries with a canvass, pastels and the tombstone of a well-known name, has been laid low during his work season by the bite of a brown recluse spider.

Artist Scott Covert, has been hobbled when he should be headed South in the direction of burial grounds of baseball greats and Civil Rights heroes. “This was supposed to be my freedom summer,” he says, from his recovery car driving through southwest Michigan to his childhood home in New Buffalo, where he still lives off-and-on. Scott has two bases of operation besides Harbor Country. In New York City he is represented by Edelman Arts and in Southern California, where his work is shown by Skidmore Contemporary Art in Santa Monica and Malibu.

Though the artist has been doing grave-rubbings for close to 25 years now, his willingness to talk about his work publicly is a much more recent feature, for years he worried about being locked out. Though he is still “on the down-low” as he says, even though when he is working outdoors and in the moment, he doesn’t violate anything or anybody. There is nothing illegal or immoral about breathing new life into a dead somebody. His work has been characterized---correctly as Scott testifies---as the perfect synthesis of the celebrity-self-conscious-Andy-Warhol-like Pop Art (nothing more current, everyday or permanent than a gravestone) and the subversive-submerged-id-raging-through Abstract Expressionism, think Jackson Pollock. As if to seal the characterization, Scott has done a piece with those two tombstones as a vertical list. Warhol is on top.

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Quotes on O'Shea McCarthy and his music

Quotes on O'Shea McCarthy and his music
July 23, 2014 5:23 pm  • 

“Shea was just always musically inclined and artistic, even when he was little. He played the piano and then the guitar, but he was a drummer. He loved the jazz drums.”

“Of the pictures we have of him, the only ones where he doesn’t have headphones (on)... are the ones where I was like ‘Hey, please take your headphones out.’”

Heather McCarthy, O’Shea’s Mother

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In This Issue