My Blogging Family…

Hello all. I will just get right to the point. You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet or “off camera” lately, if you will. Life is happening to me so quickly lately, that I can barely keep up. Lots of fires burning; some big, some small. But I am can only put out one at a time, even though many are raging.

I basically want you all to know that I am still here, but very much under the weather. I am thankful for all of your readership and support and apologize for the lack of posts, but I simply haven’t been able to. One thing is for sure, out of all the rubble and ruin, some beauty and inspiration must emerge. I hope that it will be worth the wait. Again, thank you all for the tremendous love and support.

Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know…17

According to the Nielsen ratings, more women watched the Super Bowl on NBC than those that tuned in to the Oscars (24.5 million), the Grammys (23.8 million), and the Emmys (8 million).

    • In 5 years, the Super Bowl female audience has doubled.
    • The last 3 Super Bowls were the most watched by females, setting unprecedented records.
    • “Sunday Night Football” on NBC, has snagged the title of being the first series to finish No. 1 in ‘prime time’ last year. Women between the ages of 18 to 49 years of age, brought a No. 4 ranking to the weekly football telecast.
    • The introduction of sport jerseys for women, is one major effort being made by the league to draw in the female audience.
    • Football has become synonymous with “hot” celebrity news and pop culture. New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s recent romance with Hollywood actress Eva Longoria, has drawn as much interest and attention within the gossip world as the sports columns. Quarterback Tom Brady married supermodel Gisele Bundchen after his notorious relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan and the birth of their child out of wedlock.
    • The game of football certainly has not escaped the tabloid fascination and intrigue and has in many cases, become a soap opera of the ‘sports’ kind.

***I will admit that the only time I feel inspired to tune into a football game is during the playoffs leading up to the “Big Game”. Then of course, I tune into the Super Bowl, especially if my son’s Denver Broncos are playing. It’s exciting and and so nice to be abreast on what’s happening in such a popular and broadly watched arena. So much excitement and hoopla! It would seem very difficult to not tune into an event that everyone seems to be watching!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know…16

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the unusual instances of celebrity deaths that seem to come in three’s. The most recent proof being the passing of Robyn Williams, Lauren Bacall, and Joan Rivers. It’s kind of hard to argue against this when it has happened repeatedly over time. Admittedly, I’ve heard this old adage for as long as I can remember, never really paying much attention to it until entering into my adult life. I began to notice that there seemed to be some truth to this “Hollywood” affliction. With the recent barrage of deaths, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at the so-called Celebrity Death Rule of Three.

    • Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper all crashed and died simultaneously in an Iowa cornfield on February 3, 1959. Not since their untimely deaths, has the Celebrity Death Rule of Three happen so quickly, according to an article by Dave Montgomery of the Washing Post on June 30, 2009. Further instances may not have happened as quickly, but they certainly did happen.
    • The earliest instance was recorded as far back as late 1970 to early 1971. It has been documented that rock star royals Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison all died in close time proximity. *Unbelievably, all three of these rock legends died at the age of 27. This is both remarkable and peculiar within itself. (Another post perhaps)
    • In June of 2009, the deadly trifecta, if you will, made an appearance again. Ed McMahaon passed away on June 23, 2009, mega-celebrities Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, both died on the same day, June 25, 2009. The media clearly struggled to bring some type of balance to its reporting on each of these stars. I’m willing to bet the media never imagined they’d be scrambling to cover such broad careers simultaneously, to say the least.
    • During the summer of 2013, the triage of death occurred again with the death of infamous Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, Sopranos star, James Gandolfini, and actress Jean Stapleton(known for her role as Edith Bunker on All in the Family).

Again, it is hard to argue the existence of the alleged Celebrity Death Rule of Three when as you can see, there certainly are enough occurrences to support otherwise. Myth or pure coincidence? You be the judge…

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(15)

Learning another language may be pivotal in fending off dementia. Evidently, there is a link between this debilitating brain disease and language skills.

    • Previous studies have found that even furthering learning/education and/or participating in cognitive and mentally challenging activities, may reduce the onset of dementia. This study also revealed that even people who could not read, but spoke two languages, seemed to have an advantage against the disease as opposed to those who spoke one language.
    • The author and researcher of the study, Dr. Suvarna Alladi, at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India says, “Our study is the first to report an advantage of speaking two languages in people who are unable to read. Speaking more than one language is thought to lead to better development of the areas of the brain that handle executive functions and attention tasks, which may help protect from the onset of dementia.
    • It is estimated that one in three U.S. Seniors are expected to die with dementia.
    • The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s.
    • Approximately 650 people from India were recruited for the study. The average age was 66 and these individuals had already been diagnosed with dementia prior. An estimated 390 spoke two or more languages, while 14 percent were unable to read.
    • The languages spoken in India where the study was conducted included: Telegu, Hindi, Dakkhini, and English. The majority of these patients (240) already had Alzheimer’s disease, 189 had vascular dementia, 116 had frontotemporal dementia, and 103 had dementia with Lewy bodies and mixed dementia.
    • Damage to the brain cells causes dementia, no matter what type. This damage, then hinders the cells ability to communicate with each other. As a result, thinking, behavior, and feelings are all affected, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

***Personally, I used to really enjoy taking French in junior high school and Spanish in high school. Who knew at the time, that these learning these languages, could prove to be healthy advantageous down the road? It may be a good idea to consider picking up at least one of these languages again. Just saying….

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(14)

While watching the evening news, I happened to catch a brief segment on the subject of my beloved cursive writing. I was pleasantly surprised to find that some fourth graders in Kendall New York, also share my passion for this subject. According to this segment that aired on 13WHAM News earlier this evening, some eager students have made their desire to learn cursive writing known and have made quite an impressive case. This instance immediately took me back to a previous article I posted on 6/8/14 that focused on this very subject. Please see the link: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/cursively-speaking/

    • New York is 1 of 41 states that does not require students to learn cursive writing. I was amazed at the number of states that no longer have this requirement.
    • Some children in Kendall New York are determined to learn this ‘lost’ art form regardless. A fourth grader by the name of Cameron and his friends are making quite the fuss about the subject.
    • Common Core Standards do not require cursive instruction which is why it is no longer taught.

    • There are some states that are considering mandating instruction. Unfortunately, New York state is not of those.

When asked why he wanted to learn to cursive write, Cameron said that he wants to know how to write and sign checks, sign his legal name, and to write quickly. How impressive for a fourth grader. They even went as far as to make posters to aide their presentation to the school board, which was very much appreciated by the school principal, Sharon Smith. Cameron and his friends definitely seem to have a handle on the importance of learning to cursive write and it’s crucial role in their future functionality. I couldn’t agree with them more and wish them well in their ‘quest to learn cursive’.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know…(13)

Lately, I’ve been very intrigued by the cinquain verse and have written quite a few poems in this unique form. You can find my cinquain attempts as well as the innovator of this form at: http://sylviaiswriting.wordpress.com. I had a comment on one of the cinquains I wrote called “Old Boots”, where it was brought to my attention who developed this beautiful verse form.

The American cinquain was developed by Adelaide Crapsey who passed away on October 8, 1914 at the age of 36. She was a Brooklyn New York-born poet who was raised in Rochester New York (Upstate), my neck of the woods. Adelaide was the daughter of Adelaide T. Crapsey and Algernon Sidney Crapsey, an Episcopal priest. Prior to her death, she became reputable and widely recognized for the creative variation of the cinquain (quintain) which consists of a 5-line format with 22 syllables.

This style was largely influenced by the Japanese haiku and tanka. Adelaide’s 5-line form (now know as an American cinquain), has a common iambic meter which translates as one-stress, two stress, three stress, four stress and then reverts promptly back to one stress. This cinquain form usually contains 2 syllables in the 1st and last line, 4,6 and 8 syllables in the middle lines.

*Sidebar: Did you know that world-renowned poet, Carl Sandburg was said to have been the reason for the ongoing interest in the cinquain and kept Adelaide Crapsey from becoming insignificant with his poem “Adelaide Crapsey”? Incidentally, Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe were very good friends. It’s amazing the surprising ways in which people are connected and how close to home these connections sometimes hit.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(12)

What do Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, James Earl James, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis all have in common, aside from the fact that they are all famous? Well, they all suffered from stuttering at some point. Yes, each of these very accomplished individuals suffered at some time or other from a speech impediment, stuttering.

    • Marilyn Monroe‘s sensual breathy way of “mouthing” and speaking may have been her way of coping with stuttering. In a rare interview, Marilyn said that she would just suddenly begin to stutter at different times which she believed was triggered by feelings of nervousness and anxiety. *A long time acting coach advised her to speak in this over- exaggerated fashion as part of a tool/technique to help improve her acting.
    • There are still many arguments as to whether or not Winston Churchill actually had a stutter or a lisp, in which the “s” sounds like “sh”. Either way, it certainly didn’t stop him from being a most affective and infamous orator.
    • James Earl Jones spoke with Sarah Hartley, Mail on Sunday Health Editor, and was quoted as saying, “My stuttering was so bad, I barely spoke to anyone for eight years.” Evidently, sinusitis plagued him early on as well as many of his family members. This contributed to frequent instances of congestion which is believed to have impacted his issues with speech. Can you imagine missing out on a such a treat as the voice of James Earl Jones? Thankfully, we’ve been blessed to enjoy his wonderfully rich and robust voice by way of characters like “Darth Vader” in ‘Star Wars’ and “Mufasa” in the ‘Lion King’, just to name a few.
    • In an interview with Krishnan Guru Murthy, Samuel L. Jackson was said to have pretended, as a young boy in Tennessee, to be other people by creating characters who didn’t stutter, in hopes that he wouldn’t stutter. There’s a particular word of profanity that he is known to use in many of his movies. Apparently, Mr. Jackson mutters this world daily under his breath, as a kind of affirmation. Evidently, it works. Who would have thought that profanity would be a saving grace in an actor’s career and life? I won’t spell out this word, but lets just say, the initials are: MF
    • Bruce Willis once disclosed in an issue of GQ Magazine, that he had a terrible stutter that was so bad, he considered it to be a disability. He also says that ‘acting’ helped to cure his stutter. And thankfully so. Wow! Who knew?!

Stuttering is thought to be a neurological impairment of the brain, and is said to occur in children, mostly boys between the ages of 2 and 5 years of age. There’s another interesting fact about this subject that I simply must share before closing this post. I had both a lisp and a stutter as a young child. My friends have a hard time believing me, as they tend to feel that I speak with perfect diction, but is true. I can vaguely recall how frustrating it used to be for me, as I struggled to get my words out. Hey, I think I feel another post developing! Hmmm…what do you think?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(11)

 

I had the pleasurable opportunity to see the James Brown movie: “Get On Up” this past Friday. I was very impressed with the lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, who played the role of James Brown. I watched in awe while Mr. Boseman nailed the dance movements, diction, speech, walk, mannerisms, etc. of James Brown. Overall, I felt it was a good movie, but there was a great deal left unexplained. However, it was indeed an experience to witness some of the more poignant moments in the life of this historical musical legend unfold onscreen.

Here are some interesting facts about James Brown:

    • James Brown is often referred to as ‘the hardest working man in show business’.
    • James Brown’s first name was originally intended to be Joseph, but was somehow accidentally reversed on his birth certificate.
    • James Brown was sent to live with his Aunt Honey Washington at the age of six. His aunt sold moonshine and ran a brothel to support herself.
    • James Brown aspired to be a professional baseball player and a boxer when he was younger.
    • A news anchor once reported James Brown to be dead in 1992, in error.
    • Try Me” was James Brown’s 1st No 1 single on the R&B charts in 1959.
    • Although James Brown was unable to read ‘sheet music’, he was a musical genius.
    • James Brown died on Christmas Day in 2006. His coffin was made of 24-Karat-gold.
    • James Brown is the most ‘sampled’ artist of all time.

***Sampling – definition: the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

 

 

 

Did You Know?…(10)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6aQAEiGpHY

 

It’s always interesting to learn something new, even a little embarrassing at times. Especially when that ‘something’ new is about your own hometown of which you had no clue. I was watching t.v. last week and was very surprised to learn that 7/25/14, marked the 50th year anniversary of the Rochester Riots. Yes, I did say riots! I was so taken aback, that I found myself at a loss for words for at least a good half hour….and that is hard to accomplish for me.(smile) I still can’t believe that this tumultuous part of history, belonging to the place I’ve resided in for all of my life, had somehow escaped me.(Please click on the link above for a little background on these events) I sat dumbfounded in front of the television while witnessing the flashbacks of this ugly part of Rochester New York’s past. I was transfixed and did not move until I had familiarized myself with the sobering events that took place on July 25, 1964. Here’s what I gleaned from this eye-opening segment:

    • Rochester New York was once know as a ‘tale of 2 cities’. One tale was that of a city that was once known as one of the top places to live and work during those times, as it once thrived economically. The other tale depicted one of poverty, racial tension, and job inequality.
    • Lack of jobs, poor housing, and police brutality in the ‘black’ community, were thought to be the main causes that triggered the 3 days of rioting.
    • During this time, Rochester had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state of New York
    • The 1st indoor mall was opened in Rochester during these chaotic times.(see previous post: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/did-you-know-7/
    • Police were called in from everywhere to try and get control of the fed up and angry Rochester residents.
    • Nelson Rockefeller called on the National Guard to bring order and control back to Roc City. These riots unfortunately, put Rochester New York on the map for an array of reasons; some bad, some good.
    • Activist Malcom X and sociologist Saul Olinsky came together to form F.I.G.H.T. which strongly urged Xerox & Kodak companies to make manufacturing job opportunities more accessible to minorities.
    • Nearly 1,000 blacks & whites were arrested during the riots. There was over 1 million dollars in damages as a result of looting and damage of city businesses and neighborhood stores, etc.

I wonder what it must have felt like during those times. To avoid ‘dating’ myself, I will refrain from saying how I old I was back then. But as I sit here writing this post, listening to the chirping birds outside my window, it is almost impossible to imagine the events outlined above. Even with the occasional shouting, or loud booming stereo systems blaring from random vehicles passing by, there’s still a tranquil kind of peace that I find here…if I listen closely enough. But reality strikes back hard and I know all too well that these events did take place and the undeniable footage that I stumbled across last week is proof positive of that for sure. Yet, in spite of all the negative national publicity and attention that shined so brightly on this little corner of New York state during those times, there was some good that did come out of those dark events in Rochester New York’s history. The willingness of some companies to create accessible jobs for all, brought a diverse groups of people together. So, one of the very things that once divided the city, ended up being the one of the very things that brought it back together again! I guess you could say, a kind of bittersweet happy ending if you will. You may wonder, what is Rochester New York like today? Well, that’s a whole other post, so stay tuned! In the meantime, what’s your take on this?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know?…(9) Part 2

 

    • One of the most prevalent race-based stereotypes is that African Americans don’t swim. According to a US Swimming (America’s government body of competitive swimming) study conducted in 2010, almost half of white children (42%) had low or no swimming ability, while Hispanic children came in at 58% reported as having low or no swimming ability. African American children had the highest rate of swimming inability coming in at just under 70%.
    • Sadly, African American children are almost three times more likely to drown than white children. As a result of these generalizations, blacks are not viewed as being swimmers or even liking to swim, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
    • Historically, blacks were denied access and were steered towards pools that were undesirable and that had limited accommodations in terms of the number of people that could occupy the location(s).
    • Pools were often forcibly segregated to avoid the potential interaction between black males and white females in intimate pool settings. Blacks unfortunately met with violent resistance if they attempted to enjoy the pool to swim as did their white counterparts and were often threatened. For this reason, pools were kept securely segregated until the mid 1950s.
    • Blacks were often subjected to legal tricks and maneuvers and/or violence when resisting segregation in ‘public’ pools.
    • City governments commonly leased pools to companies because they could make any rules they wanted, including exclusion of blacks from their facilities, while the government could not do this legally.
    • Angry black communities were led to believe they would have their own pools for years on end, but never saw those promises come to pass.
    • According to the Inertia article: Debunking The Stereotype That Blacks Don’t Swim”, in the 1960’s, a slew of pools were built in low-income segregated neighborhoods. Blacks saw these so-called pools as more or less public bathtubs no more than a few feet deep. As a result, potential black swimmers were at a loss when it came to honing their swimming skills in these less than suitable settings.
    • Blacks faced the same resistance when it came to swimming at the ‘public’ beaches.
    • Near the beginning of the 20th century, the son of Frederick Douglas, Charles and his wife Laura, were the founders of a Black Beach Resort in at Highland Beach Maryland after having been denied service because of their race.
    • According to Doctoral Graduate Student at UC Santa Barbara Alison R. Jefferson, African Americans were prevented from living on the coast early on, which negatively impacted their relationship or lack thereof with the ocean.
    • Jefferson also says that Blacks eventually moved away from beaches over time as a result of a gradual process. There was so much hostility towards Blacks going to the beach, that they simply stopped going.

 

How tragic that something as pleasurable as swimming, was at one time reserved for some self-chosen and self-serving individuals. How anxious would you be to allow your children to swim when they would do so among ‘sharks‘ of the human kind? If you were ever excluded and made to feel like you had no business participating in a particular activity, how anxious would you be to involve yourself in spite of? How happy would you be to get your children involved in this ‘exclusive’ activity? How about their children and their children’s children? Oh, the vicious cycle! What’s your take?

 

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

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