The Frost King: Defending Helen Keller and Other Non-SuperHuman Deaf-Blind

Helen Keller — a Deaf and Blind woman who became an author and an international SuperStar against the merits of her monumental disability — is one of the most magnificent examples of the human spirit in the history of America.

I have defended the spirit of Helen Keller on this blog, and while I am a tremendous fan of her incredible mind, I’m not terribly interested in her sex life as a lesbian or not, or as the secret, fateful, lover of her teacher, Anne Sullivan’s, husband, or her role as the concubine of a local cub reporter who wrote about her early life and made her a star.

What does concern, and interest me, is the lingering slandering of her as a young child in her effort to write, at 11-years-old, a story for publication called “The Frost King” — that was too closely associated with a previously published work entitled “The Frost Fairies” — that she was accused of plagiarism that haunted and stooped her for the rest of her life.

Continue reading → The Frost King: Defending Helen Keller and Other Non-SuperHuman Deaf-Blind

Morning Inspiration from a Holocaust Survivor

Two and a half years ago, when my former office moved locations from midtown Manhattan to the DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area of Brooklyn — which increased the length of my commute from about twenty five minutes to nearly an hour — I had to find a new place to pray in the morning so that I would make it to the office on time.

Continue reading → Morning Inspiration from a Holocaust Survivor

Beyond Bedrock: Divining the Deep Water

We know that when you’re stuck and feeling down and foundering in a hole that the First Rule of Holes is to Stop Digging — but what if you’re trying to create a hole?  What if your entire purpose is to dig deeper than you’ve ever before dared?

Continue reading → Beyond Bedrock: Divining the Deep Water

Human Landmarks on Mount Everest

I get too easily lost. When going from one place to another that requires turns, I will more than often take note of landmarks along the way — notable stores, odd looking lamp posts, even the occasional fire hydrant that has interesting graffiti on it.

I know when I pass a particular store, I am going in the right direction. I have often wondered how people do this kind of thing when climbing mountains. I figured that perhaps they use flags that have been planted by successful climbers in the past. It turns out that I was somewhat right, except about the part of the climbers being successful.

Continue reading → Human Landmarks on Mount Everest

Is Copying the Mona Lisa Inspiration or Stealing?

On October 26, 2007 in our WordPunk blog, I wrote an article — Is Stealing Ever Good? — advocating the theft of inspiration as a qualified original intent:

Some call stealing inspiration, but if you see or experience something and then change or employ those experiences in your life — you have effectively borrowed and stolen the thoughts of others and I wholly encourage that effort.

I am not condoning plagiarism, but I am supporting the opportunity to consider and use ideas that are not your own because there are no original thoughts left in the world.

Over the weekend, I read a fascinating article in the New York Times indicating that the world-famous “copy” of the Mona Lisa was probably actually sanctioned by the great Leonardo da Vinci himself:

Continue reading → Is Copying the Mona Lisa Inspiration or Stealing?

Facebook Platitudes, Jokes and Smart Things

Facebook can be a fascinating space.  Facebook can also be a bore.  I am always disappointed by friends who post wall updates that are copied and pasted from other sources.

Continue reading → Facebook Platitudes, Jokes and Smart Things

Nina Simone and Cat Stevens

Nina Simone is one of our must unappreciated and undervalued Blues voices.  Evidence of such is found in the lack of instant recognition when you invoke her name and in the fact that her ovaric album of 50 songs and a video found in — “The Definitive Rarities Collection” — is currently selling for an incredibly cheap $7.99USD in the American iTunes store.  That’s less than 15-cents per song!

Continue reading → Nina Simone and Cat Stevens