Monthly Archives: April 2016

Lazer Focus


Lazer Focus (Randyjw; April 30, 2016)


We often find our highest forms of expression in music. Bridging language barriers, it spans the divide to reach into our souls and to bring forward our humanity.


For years, music lyrics were often the first means used to broadcast the cultural mores represented within our society — the ones which our youths would most often like to see changed!


So, “message music” became a popular way to start a popular movement of the masses in protest of the ways society was presently operating. Folk music of the 1960’s and 1970’s expressed a subset of society’s displeasure of our war efforts in VietNam and toward authority, in general. Because radio reached a broad audience, the influence of mass communication became palpable, though often overstated (Many people still don’t realize that the “loud” voice that the mass media displays neither makes it, necessarily, the popular, nor the majority, opinion).


In any case, the modes and methods of the message delivery system may have changed, but the basic precept is still there, and always will be. People need to be heard. They need to feel that they are important, and that their opinions matter. They are the clarion call to wake us up to our mistakes and to correct our actions, before it becomes too late.


One such man, with important things to say, is Lazer Lloyd. He is a blues musician with a prescient message, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum. His latest release, “America”, puts together all the shortfalls we could express about this great nation, while still acknowledging that this is a good land, overall. The beauty in the fretwork, and the wording of the sentiments, express what I would’ve also brought up in past wrongs America has committed. On a personal level, to those we’ve hurt, or to those I might have hurt, as well, I would add, “I’m sorry”. This song was touching and I have to admit that I cried while listening to it. Please visit YouTube and click the black arrow in the white portion of the YouTube song identification area to see the lyrics while viewing the song video.


“The Bomb Shelter Blues” addresses the realities of being expected to live under the insane conditions imposed upon us in Israel, while others who have the power to stop and change this warring against us hypocritically do nothing and, instead, condemn those upon whom the bombs and rockets fall. I particularly like the message revealed when you click the black YouTube arrow at YouTube.


Giving away the surprise, “Back Porch” feels like a really great Indian-style instrumental piece, but simple lyrics about serving G-d find their way between the meditational meanderings of the acoustic arrangement. I really like this piece.


“Eye of the Storm” is a really good “L-rd Have Mercy” plaint, plain and simple. Hear the sample, below.


“New Year’s Blues (Tears For Dikla)” is a really mellow, really wonderful blues tune to chill out to. I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s on YouTube, for those who don’t have Facebook.


Here social justice in action via the Jewish voice (our concept of repairing the world, in Hebrew, called “tikkun olam” and via righteous works, called “tzedakah”, or “charity”, is prevalent as a precept in our traditions). Here a sampling of this in a YouTube link to Lazer Lloyd’s “Eye of the Storm”:


Eye of the Storm:



“Lazer Lloyd”, the album by Lazer Lloyd, was the Number Three Blues-Rock Album of 2015 (RMR). He also had the number two Blues-Rock song and the number six Blues-Rock song for the year, as well. His song, “New Years Blues (Tears For Dikla)” received over 3.1 million views on Facebook, was shared more than 33,000 times, and generated more than 14,000 comments.


Lazer Lloyd is now on tour. See his official website to verify dates, times, locations, updates and additions to the touring schedule – Go to: (



Erie – 04/30/2016 – Erie Harley/9:30

New York:

Buffalo – 05/01/2016 – DHU Strand Theater/7:30


New Lima – 05/02/2016 – RSVP for Location/6:00

Columbus – 06/01/2016 – Woodlands Tavern/7:30


Decatur – 05/22/2016 – Pop’s Place/3:00 – 6:00

Springfield – 05/23/2016 – Alamo/8:00

Kankakee – 05/24/2016 – Moose Hall/8:00

Chicago – 05/26/2016 – Buddy Guy’s Legends/9:00

Berwyn – 05/29/2016 – Fitzgerald’s/9:00


Griffith – 05/25/2016 – Wildrose Brewing Co./7:00


Silver Lake – 05/28/2016 – Benders/9:45


Petoskey – 05/30/2016 – Crooked Tree


Grand Rapids – 05/31/2016 – Open Source Studios/7:30


Indianapolis – 06/02/2016 – Slippery Noodle/8:30


St. Louis – 06/04/2016 – Beale on Broadway/10:30

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Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 – Africa Sessions (CD)


Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 – Africa Sessions (CD)

2009; Produced by Bela Fleck Productions Inc. Under exclusive license to Rounder Records. (;


1. Tulinesangala – Uganda (2:50)

Nakisenyi Women’s Group

Chanting, clapping


2. Kinetsa – Madagascar (4:16)


Really cool. Appalachian banjo-like sounds. Reminiscent of a familiar song I can’t figure out. Violin.


3. Ah Ndiya – Mali (3:49)

Oumou Sangore

Bluesy start, progressing into Chinese/Arabic/funk-like stuff. Cutting woman’s voice.


4. Kabibi – Tanzania (2:30)

Anania Ngoglia

Woah… crazy-jazziness sounding like Elmo — No, not St. Elmo’s fire, but Elmo from Sesame Street! With xylophone-like accompaniment providing Caribbean island sounds and vocal runs up and down the scales (even they laugh at the end).


5. Angelina – Uganda (2:51)

Luo Cultural Association

Rambling safari-like trek with interplaying percussionist pluckings running around in the background. High-pitched ululations sound like human mosquitoes!


6. D’Gary Jam – Madagascar, Uganda, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon (6:15)

D’Gary, Oumou Sangare, Richatd Bona, Baba Maal, Vusi Mahlasela, Afel Bocum, Anania Ngoglia, Toumani Diabate and Friends

I figured I’d find Toumani Diabate on this compilation… I was indeed actively searching for another great production from him. This one is like a nightmare, but intriguing. You can’t stop listening, even though everyone is going off in their own directions, doing their own things. Strangely, it all blends together in a scary, compelling way.


7. Throw Down Your Heart – Mali (5:07)

Haruna Sumake Trio and Bassekou Kouyate

This soft instrumental sounds more like an Ali Farka Toure/Toumani Diabate collaboration, the kind I was hoping to find. Also Jethro Tull tune toward the end.


8. Thula Mama – South Africa (3:59)

Vusi Mahlasela

A little bit of bebop in an African vibe with English subtitles.


9. Wairenziante – Uganda (2:55)

Muwewesu Xylophone Group

Having once or twice picked up a pair of mallets, I can appreciate the xylophone/marimba dexterity exhibited here.


10. Bunibalal – Mali (4:32)

Afel Bocum

A standout of a song. Soft male voice, Japanese/Arabic intro, Irish-tinged, totally African.


11. Zawose – Tanzania (3:20)

Chibite – The Zawose Family

How can people make such sounds? And offbeat, too? By true musicianship and artistry. This one’s a trip.


12. Ajula/Mbamba – The Gambia (4:31)

The Jatta Family

Quick tempo, probably what many Western minds would automatically associate to African music.


13. Pakugyenda Balebauo – Tanzania (2:58)

Warema Masiaga Cha Cha

E.T. went to Africa, instead. Neat question-answer format with kazoo/didgeridoo loose-stringed backup.


14. Jesus Is The Only Answer – Uganda (3:24)

Ateso Jazz Band

I love this one so much. So happy and uplifting. Upper register music and vocals. You’ll be smiling with this one!


15. Matitu – Tanzania (4:19)

Khalifan Matitu

Xylophone only, building up with background stuff sounding like a rainfall in a dense, tropical forest.


16. Mariam – Mali (3:51)

Djelimady Tounkara

I don’t know if I know what this song wants to be. It just is what it is — Ole’!


17. Djorolen – Mali (5:04)

Oumou Sangare

Delta meets Asio-Africa in rather soulful ballad. Love it.


18. Dunia Haina Wema/Thumb Fun – Tanzania (7:13)

Anania Ngoglia

Find myself not sure if I like it, yet enthusiastically starring it, just as well. Obvious mastery of the musical instruments, as well as the vocal chords echoing additional instruments. Sounds like you’re privileged to listen in on a jam going on.




This album started as an idea, when Bela Fleck heard the sounds of African music coming from the computer of his musicians on the tour bus. Enjoying what he heard, he decided to investigate the origins of his preferred instrument, the banjo, in West Africa, engaging Sony to underwrite the affair. After the tickets were booked, the field engineers reserved, the details and logistics arranged… Sony backed out.


So much had already been riding on this venture. With everything in place, Bela couldn’t let everyone down. Not only is he a folk hero in pioneering banjo music and styles, he turned folk hero in helping his fellow musicians continue with the job for this project. He hired his half-brother, Sascha Palladino, putting the venture to visuals in a documentary release now available through Netflix, or via purchase at New Video, a part of Cinedigm Entertainment:



DVD Cat: NNVG158461

DVD UPC: 7-67685-15846-3

SRP: $26.95



The album won two 2009 Grammy® awards for Best Contemporary World Music Album and Best Pop Instrumental Album. Standout tracks on this African collaboration include numbers 10, 14 and 17, as well as number 18.


He’s now on tour in North America, with the following states and dates – For more details and to purchase tickets, visit his friendly website at: (



with Louisville Symphony Orchestra: KY – 04/30/2016

with The Flecktones: IL, MO, NC, NH, OH, PA, VT – June

with Abigail Washburn: AK – May; UT, CO – July




Telluride Bluegrass Festival with The Flecktones – 06/16/2016

Telluride Bluegrass Festival All-Star Jam – 06/19/2016

Rocky Grass Festival with Abigail Washburn – 07/30/2016

District of Columbia:

American Acoustic with Chris Thile – 06/24/2016

North Carolina:

Brevard Music Festival – 06/28/2016


Blue Ox Music Festival with The Flecktones – 06/11/2016

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Saying It With Flowers?


Saying It With Flowers? (Randyjw; April 28, 2016)


There are six varieties of pitcher plant, passive insect traps with nodding flowers often found along the backwaters of lakes and rivers.


The Sagittaria Montevidensis Subspecies Calycina has perfect flowers, male and female, and can be found in the state of Montana in North America. Much like the fossils found in the substrate of its former ancient grounds and through its civilizations, this version is known as the Hooded Arrowhead.


The Hooded Skullcap variety is an herb found in traditional medicine. Its extracts are under testing as an environmentally-friendly pest control agent. It grows well in manmade and disturbed habitats, and will be found in temperate zones of the Northern clime in the northeastern United States. The non-parasitic plant contains teeth in its leaf blade, and flowers blue-to-purple, with two prominent lips. It is lacking in spines, as well as bulbils (wait… what!?).


The maroon-collared Sarracenia Flava variety is found in the southern United States, down to Florida. It is now prominently featured as a prized plant in a famous Japanese garden.


Convert to Middle-East -speak, and that’s some incredible way to say it with flowers, isn’t it?

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The L-rd’s Sword


The L-rd’s Sword (Randyjw; April 28, 2016)


My better half

turned out to be

my dark half

in eternity




Inspired by the poem of Tosha Michelle, “Cold Heart”, posted as a reblog on Paul McAleavey’s website, accessed 04/28/2016:


Original Source, accessed 04/28/2016:

“Cold Heart”, by Tosha Michelle. Posted April 28, 2016:


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Originally Created: March 1, 2016

Updated: July 10, 2019

I was inspired to create this post based on a quote found on a fellow WordPress blogger’s website. Her quote was so profound, I think it should become a world-wide statement. Perhaps you’ll help me achieve that for her and share with others. I’ll add to it when I find further inspiring quotes.


“I am what I wasn’t then and I was not what I am now.” – Aditi Shukla, in “Relationships: Where Do They Stem From?”. Lyf & Spice; July 14, 2015: lyfandspice(dot)com


“And even with hard work most hopes and dreams won’t become true. But the chances do increment.” – Charly Priest, in “I Too Have a Cool Quote!”. Crazy Life; October 10, 2014: charlypriest.wordpress(dot)com


“The missing ingredient in a dish found lacking is love.” – Randyjw


“Life goes on n I go on..along with life.” – Jyotee (“Isolated Girl”), in personal comment to author, March 15, 2016, at: “Randy’s Recipes: Open-Faced (Or Closed) Curried Chili Sandwich”. For more Isolated Girl works, please see: jyoteeblog.wordpress(dot)com


“lover: what makes your friendship greater than my love??? girl: friendship is the reason of the smile etched at the corner of my lips when u make me cry..” – Anagha Murali, in “Friendship”. BooksCrazy Anagha: Its About Writing; April 26, 2016:



“(Your) Saying so doesn’t make it so.” – June 14, 2016 comment (partial) by Randyjw in response to blog author, Chris Nicholas’s post, “Humanism and Violence” (April 25, 2016) at The Renegade



“On Zion: Abraham was the first Zionist.”

“On Zion (II): G-d, actually, was the first Zionist.”

– Randyjw, in “On Zion (II)”. News Notes 1; February 2, 2016:


“#1: Is being helpful the most important thing in the world?”

“#2: No, but it certainly helps!”

– Randyjw, in “Be that Help-Meet”. News Notes 1; June 26, 2016:


Impossible Peace

“How can we live in peaceful coexistence with someone, who won’t even let us live?”

– Randyjw, July 17, 2016


“Are we attuned enough to the earth to live in symbiosis with it?”

– Randyjw, in “3 Quotes For 3 Days”. News Notes 1; January 19, 2016:


“Are we attuned to people’s needs and feelings enough to have meaningful interactions with them?”

– Randyjw, in “3 Quotes For 3 Days”. News Notes 1; January 19, 2016:


“A feral cat found me and I taught her how to interact with humans. The feral cat taught me that our relationship mirrors the expectations one can have in human-to-human relations.”

– Randyjw, in “3 Quotes For 3 Days”. News Notes 1; January 19, 2016:


“Live like a tourist!”

– Randyjw; Comment at: “Three Unique Amsterdam Dates”.; August 3, 2016: scalesimple.wordpress(dot)com


“We don’t think; therefore, we are not.”

– Randyjw; Comment at: “Wonderings Beyond Our World”. News Notes 1; August 26, 2016:


“Events, like memories, are fleeting. Live in every very moment.”

— Randyjw; Partial comment at: “A Bride”.; September 12, 2016:



On: Zero

It is what it isn’t!

— Randyjw; “On: Zero (or: My Life, In Comments)”. News Notes 1; September 12, 2016:

and also:

Comment; September 12, 2016, at: Palinode (soubasse) by Robert Okaji at O at the Edges;



“Like people, some recipes are forgiving; others are not.”


— Randyjw. “On: Food and Forgiveness”. News Notes 1; September 16, 2016:


“The Littlest Footstep Can Leave The Deepest Impression”


— Randyjw. “The Littlest Footstep Can Leave The Deepest Impression”. News Notes 1; December 20, 2016:


“Sometimes we only realize the gifts we have been given when they have been taken away; so we must always remember from Whom we’ve received these gifts, and to appreciate what has been given us.”

— Randyjw; December 30, 2016. Partial comment at lookforthelights….


Behold, at that time
I will deal with all them that afflict thee;
And I will save her that is lame,
And gather her that was driven away;
And I will make them to be a praise and a name,
Whose shame hath been in all the earth.


– Zephaniah 3:19; JPS, 1917.



matzati et she’ahavah nafshi


for love is as strong as death,
   its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
   like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
   rivers cannot sweep it away.
– Excerpts, from Song of Songs, which is of Solomon. Version translation by New International Version (NIV).



The initial value of their investment, Vi, is only a few years of youth but the final value, Vf, is a life of luxury.


The Shelf Life of a Trophy Wife

(April 12, 2017 from


“Outside, beyond what is right and wrong, there exists a vast field.
We will find each other there.”
– Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th Century

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ACT NOW! UNESCO Executive Board Erases Jewish Ties To Temple Mount | Simon Wiesenthal Center

Source: ACT NOW! UNESCO Executive Board Erases Jewish Ties To Temple Mount | Simon Wiesenthal Center



Additional Reading (September 29, 2018):

United with Israel Staff. “Netanyahu: If UNESCO Wants to Fight Anti-Semitism ‘It Must Stop Practicing Anti-Semitism’”; September 27, 2018:


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Defending Odedi


Defending Odedi (Randyjw; with corrections 04/28/2016)


As it happens in the internet world, one person’s expertise in one area might lead you to the discovery of interesting facets of another subject. So it is with writers for web sites and information researchers, as well as it is for purveyors of fine reading materials in leisurely pursuit.


Thus it was that hard-working Odedi, by happenstance, ran across my WordPress blogsite, NewsNotes1. He is a wine reviewer with an ever-expanding corpus of followers engaged in kind reparte’ about wine at his blog:, with the exception of one commenter, who chose to unsubscribe from his website.


Apparently, he does his homework beyond the expectations of any casual commenter about the subject. By proactively seeking out every little reference regarding wine that he can unearth, he uncovers new avenues and gleans additional information supportive of his knowledge base. That’s how he ran across my website, due to my mention of a charoset preparation for Passover I made utilizing Manischewitz Concord Grape wine.


And, I’m glad he did, because it gave me the opportunity to peruse his website in kind and to read several articles he had recently written about several white Californian wines he had sampled, and his reactions to the same. I found his reviews engaging, highly knowledgeable, and well-written, to the extent that I commented whether he had written professionally for wine magazines, and if he were not — at least yet, at this point in time — that he, indeed, should be doing so for the forseeable future.


Better still was the engaging commentary supplied by wine lovers, distributors, store owners and others, who lent his wine site an authoritative and approachable forum in which to communicate one’s passions and experiences, or lack thereof, in the subject.


Now, I’m not an oenophile, and I have no raging passion for wine: I actually can’t stand dry, white wines and decidedly reason to differ why anyone would prefer such a wine, over, say, a nice, Concord grape with plenty of sweetness and full-bodied, fruity flavor. However, I do recognize the passion for grape-growers, and all that entails.


I share, though not latently, an interest in that passion. I secretly admire the heritage of grape cultivation and the arboreal-horticultural similarities to the studies of botany, geology, soil and earth sciences, climatology, grafting, and other aspects that go into wine production that the end result must ostensibly cover. Equally interesting are the wine producers and their vineyards — their so called “stock”-in-trade.


Though I haven’t researched it, it stands out firmly that some, if not the earliest, mentions of grapes comes from the Holy Land, in Israel, found in the pages resident of the Old Testament, related as the foundation of the Jewish religion described within its pages therein. The fruit was so large, it required another to bear it between them, and the iconic image became emblazoned on all communique’s emanating from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism for such a long time, that, eventually, they have been changing the logo continuously over the past few decades.


Nazirs were ones who abstained from the grape products, and our King Solomon emoted poetical on the pleasures of its essences. The Psalms of King David and friends speak of the desire to be able to rest, each man, beneath his fig and his vine, without the need to war for our existence on earth. These first known odes to the grape originate among the Jewish tribes of Israel. The stuffed grape leave has long been a staple of Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.


Wine-making goes back thousands of years in Israel. Huge vats and presses, as well as the amphorae, the vessels of clay made for the storage of other items, as well as clay seals and stamps, have been excavated from Israeli soil, attesting to the veracity of its thousands of years of production original to Israel.


Why anybody, especially in today’s day and age, would attack a wine reviewer for including numerous Israeli wines among his reports, is beyond me. Such a commenter showed up at Odedi’s “winesipping” website and proceeded to comment, rather vociferously, about Odedi’s lack of a personal biography attesting to his related credentials at the site. Another additional comment, seeming to require and, almost demand, it of him again was made. The commenter, traderbillonwine, seemed rather intimidating, to me. That is why I am writing this post about it. He also made his displeasure of his reportage on the many Israeli products at his site seem like an offense for taking a more prominent place among his listings than he felt was deserved.


Pardon me, Sir. Perhaps the Minnesota weather has had you snowed in for a time and you haven’t realized that Israel’s award-winning wines have taken top billing in international judging competitions worldwide, and that boutique wineries in Israel’s emerging new wine markets are gaining top prizes and are finding their way to tables in fine-dining establishments and into the dark holds of winecellars everywhere.


In fact, Israel saved France’s wine industry, as France saved Israel’s, long ago — or so I’ve been told. I don’t know. I only worked at a wine and liquor store for a few weeks as a subcontracted individual helping people with their carts, and occasionally leading people to their selections, or to added help from the store personnel more qualified to answer their inquiries. It did give me an opportunity to read the wine industry magazines in the lunchroom while on my breaks. I do notice the similarly-styled descriptions found in these trade sources matching the nuanced descriptions found in Odedi’s views. I don’t know why this one gentleman would take such offense, as such.


Perhaps he’ll blow it off as a blowhard commenter and let it pass, the steam of its negativity spiraling itself to nowhere. It’d be a good idea. As for me, I’m gonna do what I do, whether I do it “well” or otherwise; I am going to comment on its inappropriateness, as a seemingly thinly-veiled “stab” (to use a poor choice of words, but which carries its weight of significance well) on an individual who deals with Israeli products made from (*gasp!*) Israel.


The fact that he does or doesn’t post a personal biography with his personal details in it for the eyes of all, sane and insane, to see in a public space in no way refutes his abilities to continue to post his reviews online for the mass public to enjoy. That he can wrest the industry, much like Israel has done, away from its cartel-like vice around the industry might grate at the “fine sensibilities” of those who have tried to hold its closely-guarded secrets against the vest.


I do feel that opening it up, being more transparent, has actually revived an old-heritage institution. It might be time, Sir, for you to see the light… or the rose’… or the red… or the Syrah…

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