Thursday, December 25, 2008

Volume XXXV December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

According to the great American actress Helen Hayes, “The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy.” Wow! As of February both of us will be out of the “trouble zone.” Isn’t that reassuring? We can just sit back and watch while the current sad mess is turned over to another generation. No problem! Well, maybe still some problems, but we hope that every citizen, regardless of party, will extend wishes of success to President-Elect Obama in a job that would have been economically and politically daunting for either candidate.

While on politics how can I ignore the governor of our home state? We always say that we like our politicians to have convictions in Illinois and most of them do. The modern day solution is to sell the Senate seat openly via a TV Reality Show. Let’s hear it for “Survivor: Pay to Play,” or “The Big Race to Washington.” Governor Rod Be-gone-o-vitch will be the host. It will be a three week competition. All Chicago residents get to vote twice (once for themselves and once for their dead grandmother). Carpetbaggers will be encouraged; anyone from Joe the Plumber to J. Lo. can enter. Week one will put everyone through a Karaoke contest. Week two will have each candidate debate a federal prosecutor. And the final week will put all the survivors inside an iron cage for a Smackdown. The last person standing becomes Senator and can remain in the cage, which allows them to proceed to jail immediately without passing Go. No need for costly trials or impeachments.

But on to the year. The jokes are done and you can stop reading now with the knowledge that we have survived and wish you a Merry Christmas.

Jan continued in 2008 to supervise student teachers for Monmouth College, serve on the County Library Board, and co-supervise the AAUW Art Presenter Program. For the 35th anniversary this year they brought a children’s art exhibit and a guest storyteller named Sue Black to the Buchanan Center for the Arts. Over a thousand kids benefited from the exposure and Jan and Lila Blum received the Buchanan Center’s award for outstanding patrons of the arts in 2008. Did you ever think about the fact that the phrase “working mother” is redundant?

Jim remains on the board of the Buchanan Center for the Arts. He writes a monthly column for the Illinois Theatre Association’s newsletter and still sits on their board. His newest project is a fledgling County Historical Society. They are seeking to spruce up the town’s Pioneer Cemetery, relocate a County Historical Museum., and to exploit the community’s connections to Wyatt Earp and Ronald Reagan.

Son David continues with Honeywell in Minneapolis and stays active in music and drama criticism circles through his website He also “twitters” now. If that reference escapes you, don’t worry, it’s definitely a generational thing. Daughter Amy and husband Todd were not directly impacted by the flooding that destroyed much of central Cedar Rapids, Iowa last spring, but several of their friends were in the damage zone. Teaching remains recession proof so Amy continues to try to leave no child behind in spite of attempts by the government and administrators to bury all classrooms in tests and paper work. With construction work tough, Todd is spending a lot of time in landscaping and snow plowing.

The grandchildren are growing like Iowa corn. TJ turns 13 in a few days and is now taller than we are. Mikel has arrived in first grade and is doing well. Both boys have found baseball. (See the pics below.) The newest member of the family is a cute little Yorkshire terrier called Max. On a visit to our house last month, he endeared himself to grandma and grandpa by not piddling on the carpet, not yipping, and eagerly submitting to cuddling by any and all.

Travel was present but not as romantic this year. We made trips to see the kids and a number of drives to Chicago as Jim’s uncle (the last member of his dad’s family) slipped into Alzheimer’s. He passed away at the end of May. We continue to enjoy reading and playing golf and try to keep up a reasonable exercise program.

As I write this the cards and notes from many of you are arriving in the mail. They provide a reassuring and hopeful note that, in spite of difficulties, the world keeps turning. As Tom Stoppard says in the quotation that heads this blog, “--LIFE MOVES ONLY FORWARD--NEVER BACK!” F

We wish you and yours a Holiday Season with family and friends and a New Year filled with minimal pain and maximum joy and accomplishment.

All our best,
Jim and Jan De Young
Write anytime to And we’d love a visit.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Where will Obama take the Arts?

If only our national economy had made as much progress in 2008 as some of our arts agencies. Unfortunately, we face 2009 with a host of uncertainties as to how the new administration will deal with the nation’s problems and how the whole of the arts community will fare in the mix.

President-Elect Obama's arts platform has been received enthusiastically by most arts advocacy organizations, but it is clear that federal, state, and local governments are going to find it hard to increase spending on the arts in the face of that now officially announced major “recession.” William Ivry, the former NEA chairman who is serving as the arts point man on Obama's transition team, recently canceled a scheduled appearance on an Arts Webinar because “The Obama team” was not ready to speak on the record about the specifics of any proposals.

Undaunted, the Americans for the Arts has joined other organizations in sending an arts policy brief to the Obama transition office. It deals with everything from the NEA to the role of the arts in education, the workplace, and in life. You can read this comprehensive document by clicking here.

One bright spot is a report from the Medill School at Northwestern University that claims that major Chicago arts organizations are “holding steady in the uncertain economy.” The article discussed institutions like the Lyric Opera, Steppenwolf, the CSO, and the Art Institute. You can read more at:

There is also some hope that Obama’s new tax policies might encourage increased charitable giving . See the following article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

To end on a positive note here is a marvelous idea from the current mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He has proposed adding an option to the now ubiquitous OYSTER transportation cards that will give free or cheap entries to museums, theatres and sports centers for seniors and schoolchildren. It is a part of a wider strategy to boost London's cultural life. Read the full story here:'s+culture+masterplan/

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winter Arrives in Monmouth

There is just something about turkey and dressing in the midwest that seems to bring winter out of hiding. After a mild and sunny Thanksgiving, the end of the week produced that first dusting of the white stuff. Not nearly so bad as that attempt in the eighties to return the kids to college that left us stranded in a motel about fifty miles short of Grinnell, IA, but just enough to remind us that there are some chillier days ahead. And it looks like little Max (see previous entry) got his new green sweater just in time.

Gotta go now and check the gas in the old snowblower!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

And then there's Puppy

Welcome Max to the extended family. A little Yorkie who is about the size of a large teacup has just been inititiated into the many corners and crannies of grandma and grandpa's house. My biggest problem was I was afraid I would step on him--particularly as he did not make much in the way of noise and sort of blended into the brown carpet. He was a bit more visible in his new green sweater.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Arts News for November

We have just completed an historic election. What can you expect from the new administration on arts policies and/or issues? Check the following site: for an outline of what might be a bold new initiative for the arts under the leadership of President Elect Obama.

Arts issues may not be on the top ten list of problems for our new president and the members of congress, but this is still the opportune time for you to re-connect with your elected officials and remind them of your interest in promoting theatre and the arts. The ideal vehicle is a short phone call, fax, letter, or e-mail that congratulates them on their election or re-election as the case may be. Then you add a short paragraph that tells them that you work in the arts. Mention that you belong to or support arts groups—including the Illinois Theatre Association—and that you would hope that they would be amenable in the future to legislation that encourages the development of the arts and arts education. Find appropriate addresses below. or for state addresses go to
At a recent Illinois Theatre Association meeting board meeting some members called for more information on the efficacy of theatre and arts instruction and its relationship to overall leaning. So here are two more sources that comment on that. The first one is out of Colorado and contends that “creativity in the curriculum boosts academic performance.” If your tastes run to the more academic you might look up a new book by two Britons titled The Social Impact of the Arts Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 The volume traces the history of this debate from classical Greece to the present day.

Have you noticed that your audience is graying? Most surveys suggest that the average age of arts attendees is rising, but here is an intelligent article that makes an argument that this is not a new insight and might not be all bad.,0,4427896.story?track=rss

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Spirit of Grace" to Lila Blum and Jan De Young

The "Spirit of Grace" award for 2008 Arts Patrons of the Year was presented last week by the Grace Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, IL to Lila Blum and Jan De Young. The dynamic duo founded the AAUW(American Association of University Women) Art Presenter Program thirty-five years ago and have co-chaired it ever since. Thousands of elementary school children from Monmouth and the surrounding area have benefited from the program and hundreds of local citizens have been marshalled to present artwork in classrooms throughout the county. Both women are retired educators with long records of community service.

The award was presented by Buchanan Center Board President, John Vellenga, at the annual Buchanan Center Taste of the Arts Banquet and fundraiser on Saurday, November 8, 2008. Below are some additional pictures of the event.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Historical Society Members Visit Roseville

Members of the Prairieland Historical Society paid a visit to the Warren County Historical Society Museum in Roseville, IL last week. Located in a former school building just off city route Hwy 34 in Roseville, the museum is chock full of fascinating material relating to the history of Warren County.

Exhibits range from Native American arrowheads and antique farm machinery to period clothing and historic photographs. Some displays feature full scale mock-ups of Grandma's house, a barber shop, a doctor's office, and a schoolroom. There is also a library that houses books, old news clippings, and even scrapbooks made by past residents.

The museum is not open on a regular schedule, but a contact phone number is listed on the sign near the front door.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


This 70 year old voted for Barack Obama yesterday. The country, as our new president-elect said in his victory speech, did not simply buy "change" as if it were a quart of milk, it bought only a chance to make "change" happen. From here on out it will be a job for all of us and it will require some time, some sacrifice, some give as well as take, and definitely some unified pulling on the oars.

Last night, by total coincidence, the painting I am presenting today in a 6th grade classroom in Monmouth,IL was sitting on the dining room chair next to the television set. Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" depicts a young polio victim strugging up a long field toward her house on the crest of what seems to be an insurmountable hill. There's a lot more to the painting and the story of our election, but I'll leave some things for you to fill in.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Peoria's Wildlife Prairie Park is a Jewel

Peoria's Wildlife Prairie Park is a treat for all ages at any time, but it seems to come especially alive in the fall. We took the grandchildren out for an Autumn amble and padded down leaf strewn paths for an entire sunny afternoon. There were eagles, owls, foxes, wolves, bears, cougars, mountain lions, badgers, elk, and bison on view in good sized natural habitats. It's quite a sight when the elk and bison herds start heading for the viewing area just before feeding time.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Take a trip to Henderson County and Burlington, Iowa

The grandkids were weekend guests and one of our outings took us to the Weir Apple farm, the Henderson Creek Covered Bridge, Lock and Dam 18 on the Mississippi River, and then over the high bridge to Burlington, Iowa. This is the midwest at its best.

Snake Alley in Burlington is quite a sight and even more exciting to drive down. Check your brakes before setting out!

Monmouth College Faculty Past and Present Art Exhibit

The Monmouth College Art Department faculty (Past and Present) opened an exhibition of their work last Friday at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in downtown Monmouth, IL. This show will continue in the BCA gallery until November 25th. The center is open free of charge to the public from 9-5 T-F and 10-2 on Sat.

Twelve different professors of Art will have works in the show.

Carla Marquart. a former department member, poses next to one of her new works in the show.

Harlow Blue, an emeritus Professor, discusses one of his works at the opening.

Stacy Lotz, current Art Department member, gets together with emeritus sculptor George Waltershausen at the reception.

Stephanie Baugh, current Art Deparment member(on left), chats with Janeve West(on right) of the Theatre Department and Julia Andrews of the Music Department(center).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Washington Post and Chicago Tribune Support Obama

I vacillate in these entries between political and artistic comments. My tone, admittedly, leans toward the "liberal" end of the spectrum, but without giving credence to the hostility laced rantings of either the far right or far left. In the Washington Post Obama endorsement I do see a rationally argued and fair minded attempt to make a pick among two capable candidates--both of whom are human and have shortcomings. The same can be said of the Tribune endorsement.
Both papers, one of whom has never supported a democratic candidate for the presidency, seem to find that a deciding argument rests in McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. It is the only real decision that a candidate makes before an election that you are 100% sure will be with you after the election. I have not seen a single comment anywhere that says that Joe Biden could not step into the job if necessity called. With a major economic crisis in process, with the complexities of international affairs, with the responsibilities of a commander in chief, and with the dangerous fractures in our social and cultural milieu, it is inconceivable for anyone to ask that the country take the chance that the next in line is someone who is so manifestly unready in so many key areas as Sarah Palin. And when it is a seventy-two year old man who is making that decision, it also seems clear that he is not thinking of his country first.

Read the Post endorsement here.
Read the Tribune endorsement here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Book Review: The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday

The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday by Alexander Mc Call Smith

Alexander Mc Call Smith’s books, whether set in Mma. Ramotswe's Africa or Isabel Dalhousie's Edinburgh, hover sweetly and delicately around their environments like butterflies above a flower. The locations are lovingly rendered and melded seamlessly into the plots. Mma. Ramotswe, the lead character in his Number One Ladies Detective Agency series, is unaware that she is a philosopher. Isabel Dalhousie, the central heroine in The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday is literally a philosopher. She is a funny, self-deprecating, attractive, and financially independent woman, who when not editing her journal called "The Review of Applied Ethics", spends her time nosing about Edinburgh's numerous cafes, galleries, concert halls, and lecture venues. In each waking moment she conducts slyly humorous internal debates on the moral significance of the interactions she is experiencing. These deliberations range from musings on the language development of her infant son and doubts about the friends of the father of her child to the murky levels of truth surrounding the life of a depressed medical doctor whose career has been ruined by accusations of manipulating results in a drug company research project.

Mc Call Smith gives Ms. Dalhousie a reputation for both inserting and being asked to insert herself into other folks' ethical dilemmas, but he also differentiates her from the legions of "gotcha" journalists who seem to be prying only to score media points. He has her say, "It had always struck her as wrong that we should judge ourselves--or, more usually, others--by single acts, as if a single snapshot said anything about what a person had been like over the whole course of his life." How refreshing to acknowledge that most lives are a combination of rights and wrongs. Even more refreshing is the view that you should not be saddled for eternity by a single mistake. Amends are possible and acceptable. Would that today's politicians, who would often have you judge their opponents solely by past associations rather than present programs, might read this book.

As Dalhousie’s interactions with her lover, her infant son, her sister, and the embattled doctor evolve, she becomes painfully aware that she was wrong on just about every judgment she made. The lesson is clear and sobering. Beware of presumption when speculating on feelings and/or motivations in others. "The moral account book (of others), wherever it is-- in some distant metaphysical databank or just in the heart--should never be contemplated, or dwelt upon."

The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday ends, as most of the McCall Smith books do, in quiet contemplation of nature. You are left to speculate on the natural world, the simple sowing and planting of seeds, and the wonders of human love. You will not be disappointed in the answers.

(For additional book reviews by Jim De Young check out the web site of the Warren County Public Library in Monmouth, IL)

Do you want an advance look at a new McCall Smith novel? Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vote for a CNN Hero

When Jane Kurtz visited Monmouth last week, she told us of the CNN hero program. Her good friend and the founder of Ethiopia Reads, Mr. Yohannes Gebregeorgis, has been chosen as one of the finalists for 2008. You can read more about him and vote for him at this web site.

If you would like to learn more about Ethiopia Reads, you can go to their web site.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gibson Woods Glows in Autumn Colors

There are plenty more expensive golf courses in the state, but there are none that match the beauty of Gibson Woods in the fall. Playing on this Monmouth Park District gem in October is like walking through a kaleidescope of colors. At each new tee a new vista and at each turn of the head another splash of vibrant reds, golds, rusts, and greens. Here's a sampling for you. And anyone for a foursome?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Jane Kurtz Speaks at Warren County Public Library

Jane Kurtz , award winning author of over twenty five books for children and young adults, spoke at the Warren County Public Library on Tuesday, October 7th about “THE POWER OF READING AND WRITING TO CHANGE US FROM THE INSIDE OUT” The Monmouth College graduate talked about how books set her parents (both also Monmouth College grads) on an amazing path of international travel, shaped her own life, shaped the lives of her siblings, and helped her to support the first children's libraries in Ethiopia. Go to Ethiopia Reads for more information on this project.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Arts Advocacy for October

What do the current presidential candidates think of the arts? The Americans for the Arts Action Fund has released a side by side comparison of both candidate’s positions. Go to: for a short summary. Additional links are there if you want more detail.

Note the recent release of the Coalition for Theatre Education’s Joint statement on Freedom of Expression in the Arts. This coalition was formed two years ago by members of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) to address issues of mutual interest and concern in theatre education. The CFTE represents more than 7,000 theatre educators in American elementary, middle, and high schools, colleges, and universities. You can read this important statement on Freedom of Expression in the Arts by going to:

If you still don’t have enough new things to read, I recommend a fascinating publication titled Committing to Quality in Education: Arts at the Core just released by the Illinois Arts Allance. It is designed for Illinois teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, and community partners. You can find this superbly illustrated publication at: Chapter topics include “Curriculum and Assessment,” “Accountability,” and “Planning for Effective Arts Education.” Ra Joy, the Executive Director of the IAA and his Guidebook project directors, Julie Andrianopoli and Lara Pruitt have performed a truly magnificent service in compiling this publication.

The Congressional Arts Report Card for the 110th Congress is available and you can read it at: According to the Arts Report Card, the cumulative grade point average of the Illinois delegation is a B+ for 2007 to 2009. The last Arts Report Card in 2006 issued Illinois a B grade. The Illinois delegation ranks 17th highest among all state delegations.

The Illinois Arts Friendly Community Awards serve to recognize municipalities that support the arts and to celebrate municipal leaders who use the arts to build healthy communities. They are awarded by the Arts Alliance of Illinois and the Illinois Municipal League. Arlington Heights and Effingham, IL were among those honored this year. Fifteen other communities captured Honorable Mentions. They were Aurora, Bartlett, Belvidere, Carol Stream, Danville, Elmwood Park, Hickory Hills, Highland Park, Hoffman Estates, Lombard, Orland Park, Palatine, Princeton, Tinley Park, Urbana, and Waukegan. Might your community be eligible? Check it out at:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Back to the Arts

Although it is clear that our national election may be decided on issues other than support for the arts, I would like to express a hope that both candidates might, in the next month, better describe how they view our nation's arts education and cultural policies.

The "Creative Economy" is a strong element of the 21st century workforce and could be crucial in helping our economy recover.

Research has also shown that students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages, score better on standardized tests in reading and math, and have lower dropout rates. These findings appear to cut across all socio-economic categories.

I call on both candidates to support funding and policies at the federal level that would recognize the growth potential and direct benefits of encouraging cities and states to strategically invest in the arts in order to drive economic development.

If you would like further material on where Obama and McCain stand on the Arts, check out the link.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Have you heard the one about the post turtle?

“While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, a doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President.

The old rancher said, ’ Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.’

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.
The old rancher said, ’ When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle.’

When the doctor still looked puzzled, the old rancher explained.

‘You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t belong up there , she doesn’t know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder who the dumb ass was that put her up there to begin with.’

If that is too partisan for you, then chill out with this one from another anonymous internet savant, and forwarded by my daughter.

May it bring at least one smile or two before you cry.

Watch for these mergers before the end of the year. Get in on the ground floor and make some BIG bucks.

1.) Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W.
R. Grace Co. will merge and become: Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.

2.) PolygramRecords, Warner Bros., and ZestaCrackers join forces and
become: Poly, Warner Cracker.

3.) 3M will merge with Goodyear and become: MMMGood

4.) Zippo Manufacturing, AudiMotors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will
merge and become: ZipAudiDoDa

5.) FedEx is expected to join its competitor, UPS, and
become: FedUP

6.) Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will
become: Fairwell Honeychild

7.) Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become:

8.) Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will
become: Knott NOW!

And finally....

9.) Victoria 's Secret and Smith & Wesson will merge under the new
name: TittyTittyBangBang

Sometimes you just gotta laugh!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Buffett Wisdom and a Palin Note

Warren Buffett was cited this morning as a believer in the three I's of the economic cycle. First come the Innovators; then the Imitators; and finally the Idiots. It is your guess as to where we are at this moment. (Hint, the first two don't count.)

The latest word from Arizona is that Gov. Sarah Palin will be released from the Witness Protection Program in order to debate Joe Biden on national TV Thursday evening. Further appearances may be made, but only if accompanied by Federal Marshall John McCain. Fred Thompson, former Republican candidate and Law and Order DA, admitted on CNN this morning that there was a possibility that Ms. Palin had been micro-managed.

Has Palin been the victim of a vicious media attack? There is no question that she has been placed under the proverbial magnifying glass in the last month. But we should also remember that nearly every voter in the lower forty eight had never even heard of her a month ago. These people do have some right to know as much as possible about an individual who has a 1 in 3 chance to become president of the United States. The skinny on Biden and McCain has been floating around for years and Obama's garbage can has been thoroughly sifted for nineteen months now. All the real dirt, the half truths, and the lies are out there to be studied. Issues like McCain's censure for his involvement in the Keating Five Scandal, Obama's poor pastoral choice, and Biden's unzipped mouth have been ground up, assimilated, and and for the most part discarded as significant campaign considerations. Palin's background is a catch-up target and unfortunately for Republicans some of it is still going to be current on election day. McCain and his people clearly knew this when they nominated an unknown and they will have to live with it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain Wins Debate even before it begins

I know the New York Times is not a news organization any more, but their report of the McCain campaign releasing a "McCain Wins Debate" ad to the Wall Street Journal eleven hours before the debate began and even before the country knew whether Jumpin John was even going to show up is an astounding act of prescience.

"Mr. McCain’s campaign actually declared victory as early as 10 a.m. Friday, hours before the debate took place and even before he had agreed to take part in it. In what aides said was a mix-up, The Wall Street Journal posted an advertisement on its Web site 12 hours early that showed Mr. McCain proudly looking into the distance. “McCain Wins Debate!” read the text.

A reader of The Washington Post spotted it and alerted one of the paper’s blogs, The Fix, which posted it before the red-faced McCain campaign removed it.

It was an embarrassing, yet telling, false start to the most important battle to shape perceptions of the election year so far . . ." NYT 9/28/08

For a more complete analysis of McCain's week leading up to the debate look at
Frank Rich's "McCain’s Suspension Bridge to Nowhere" also in the Times.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pioneer Cemetery Workday Reveals Earp Family Stone

The newly formed Prairieland Historical Society had it’s second workday at the Warren County Pioneer Cemetery on Thursday, September 18th. More brush was cleared on the north side of the cemetery, grass was trimmed around some of the visible tombstones, and work was begun to expose some of the stones that have become buried over the years. One interesting stone that was uncovered appeared to be that of the two week old daughter of an uncle of Wyatt Earp.

The cemetery sign is also being refurbished and sometime this fall will be re-located near the stairs that lead up to the historical kiosk.

The Prairieland Historical Association meets regularly on the 2nd Thursday of each month. Memberships are available at a cost of $15 for an individual and $20 for a family. Contact this blogger or Fred Jenks, the current president, at 309-734-2116 for further information.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Arts News

If you are interested in the arts on any level, you do need to make sure that your thoughts are communicated to your political representatives. Who are your Illinois state officials? All you need to do is click on: This site will ask you for your zip code and then will get you information on how to contact your state officials by e-mail, by phone, or by regular mail. It is that simple and it is the thing to do right now!

October is Arts and Humanities Month. Activities will be held across the state of Illinois, bringing people together to engage with the arts and humanities through plays, musical performances, lecture series, film screenings, poetry readings, and more. Check it all out. at any of the links below.
• Visit the official AH! Month calendar to find public events in your area
• Submit an arts or humanities event to the AH! Calendar
• Request AH! Month Promotional Tie-ins and become an AH! Ambassador
• Join the official AH! Month Facebook Group
• Learn about National Arts & Humanities Month
Where do the presidential candidates stand on the arts? Try this website to start your research.

Does your town or city have an official “Cultural Plan” to show to prospective business investors or new residents? Fort Collins, CO does and you can read about it here.

And finally,

Some time ago I recommended a web site where you could get regular information on what is opening, closing, selling out, and available at the discount tickets booth in New York. e.g. This past week they noted that the Broadway musical Rent, winner of the 1996 Tony for Best Musical, played its final performance (7 Sep 2008) at the Nederlander Theatre. It will have done 16 previews and 5,124 regular performances, which makes it the seventh longest running show in Broadway history with a gross of over $280 million. There was also a story on the Broadway revival of David Mamet's archetypal Chicago play, American Buffalo, directed by Robert Falls, and starring Cedric the Entertainer, John Leguizamo and Haley Joel Osment. It opens on November 17th. To get your own free e-mail copy of the New York Theatre Guide on a weekly basis go to and click on the left hand panel labeled Newsletter.

"It's da Economy Stupid!"

I would like to make lots of money and live happily ever after, but it seems that the big guys who make lots more money are never happy with their already inflated share of the pie.

As Paul Wilmott said in the NYT on 9/18 "As long as people are compensated hugely for taking risks with other people’s money, and do not suffer equally on the downside, then those risks will inevitably become outrageous. Whether markets are efficient or not I don’t know for sure, but I do know that if there’s a way for someone to make money at another’s expense, he will."

We are a long way from the eighties, but apparently greed is still good and the tax payers will pay the freight.

IRONY CHECK! The party that has claimed pay as you go fiscal conservatism for these oh so many years has given us the biggest deficit in history and an ongoing ten billion dollars a month going out in a sewer called Iraq. The latest round of bailouts is so huge that it has completely overpowered the giant sucking sound of the war.

This same party, whose deregulation champions McCain and Graham, are now sounding the panic bell to put a brake on the rapacious free market capitalism that they fostered, is lookng more like the government control "tax and spend" opposition every minute. Good folks all over there, with the possible exception of the VP choice who thinks that "creationism" is teachable science, that foreign policy experience is being able to see Russia across the water, and that Roe v Wade should be ditched in favor of abstinence only sex education.

I am not sure that anyone will be able to extricate us rapidly from the mess that Bush has made, but it seems probable to me that Obama has a better chance of getting started on it than "Maverick Man."

Just my thoughts this morning. jdy

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain Continues to Disappoint St. Petersburg Times has an article that begins: "This nation is facing real challenges on the economy, health care, jobs and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are significant differences between how Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain would address them. But McCain's recent campaign ads suggest the most vital issues are whether Obama wanted to teach sex education to kindergarten children and whether he derided the Republican's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, by talking about lipstick on a pig. McCain's straight talk has become a toxic mix of lies and double-speak. It is leaving a permanent stain on his reputation for integrity, and it is a short-term strategy that eventually will backfire with the very types of independent-thinking voters that were so attracted to him."

When McCain appeared on "The View" last week and was challenged for approving the commercial that falsely accused Obama of supporting sex education for kindergarteners, his response was "You should see what the other guy's are doing!"
That is a logical fallacy known as "You're Another." Don't clean up your act, just holler that the other guy is just as bad or worse. I guess two wrongs make it right. Reminds me of the motorist who was accused of hitting a pedestrian while driving drunk. His defense? Yes, I was drunk your honor, but he was drunk too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


For the past two days Ms. Sue Black, a storyteller from Naperville, IL has been captivating Monmouth school children with her participatory musical stories. Taking her cue from selected pictures in the exhibit titled “House and Home and Masks” that was brought to the community by the American Association of University Women’s Art Presenter Program, Black told a series of stories that featured activities and animals and lots of action. Most impressively she was able to adapt her program skillfully to age levels that ranged from kindergarten to middle school. All of this has been taking place at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in downtown Monmouth, IL. and the pictures that accompany this article are all you should need to measure Sue's impact on childrn.

The Art Presenter program has been serving area elementary schools for thirty-five years and for this year’s anniversary, Ms. Black was engaged to supplement an exhibition of arts works created by children from some thirty countries around the world. The show was compiled by the World Awareness Children’s Museum in upstate New York and it will be on view at the Buchanan Center until October 11th.

The AAUW Art Presenter program brings the joy of art to 56 classrooms and over 1000 students in area schools during the school year. It is staffed by a corps of dedicated volunteer presenters (parents, grandparents, seniors, and others) who visit classrooms with works of art on a monthly basis. For more information on this exciting program, contact Jan De Young at or Lila Blum at