Why The Arts Are Important

Why does a federal agency in Washington, D.C. matter to the arts in your hometown? If you care about your local theater, symphony, or downtown museum, NEA funding likely matters to you more than you realize.

In 2010 alone the NEA supported 2,400 direct grants reaching all 435 congressional districts, totaling more than $110 million. The NEA contributed $43.6 million in partnership funding with state arts agencies, which supported another 23,000 grants to 17,500 organizations, schools and artists in nearly 5,000 communities across the United States.

I read this morning that President Trump has a bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office. Churchill was a believer in the art. A quote attributed to him (but not verified), When he was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he simply replied “then what are we fighting for?”

But he did say this:

The arts are essen­tial to any com­plete national life. The State owes it to itself to
sus­tain and encour­age them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the rev­er­ence and delight which are their due

I also read this morning that the entire budget for the National Endowment for the Arts is LESS than the price of one B 2 bomber. I personally would like to see that matched!

Why Are the Arts Important

  • They are languages that all people speak that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.
  • They are symbol systems as important as letters and numbers.
  • They integrate mind, body, and spirit.
  • They provide opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.
  • They offer the avenue to “flow states” and peak experiences.
  • They create a seamless connection between motivation, instruction, assessment, and practical application–leading to deep understanding.
  • They are an opportunity to experience processes from beginning to end.
  • They develop both independence and collaboration.
  • They provide immediate feedback and opportunities for reflection.
  • They make it possible to use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to bridge into understanding sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.
  • They merge the learning of process and content.
  • They improve academic achievement — enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  • They exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and “problem-finding.”
  • They are essential components of any alternative assessment program.
  • They provide the means for every student to learn.

Fun Ways to Repurpose Your Wine Corks

To all my wine drinking friends- we love wine! In fact, there’s nothing we find more enjoyable than gathering with other people discussing current events over a bottle of wine. The true cost of these get-togethers, though, is an ever-increasing mountain of corks. Here are a few fun ways to repurpose those pesky stoppers!

Like many of you I have a drawer nearly completely FILLED with corks. Every few months I empty out this drawer and put all the corks in a ziplock and put them in the basement. I now have a room in my basement almost filled. We have made a wreath out of corks- Now I need to be more creative.

Here are some more creative ways to use the corks.

1. Fill a large glass jar to the brim with your corks. This is an inexpensive and easy way to find a decorative use for them. Cork-filled jars look great on end tables!

2. Fill another jar with corks, and this time toss in some marbles to spice up the display. These also look great on end tables. An end table entirely covered with them looks even better!

3. Stuff corks into a hole in your wall as an added layer of insulation. Use as many corks as possible. I’m sure that you have several garbage bags full, and the more corks you stuff, the fewer corks you’ll have taking up valuable hallway space.

4. Bury some corks in the dirt around your houseplants. This will not rid you of many corks, but each cork buried is one more that you’ll never have to deal with again.

5. Grind the corks into mulch and put the mulch in pillowcases. These cork pillows are great for guests with feather allergies or guests who’ve had too much wine to drink and have passed out, face first. Place a cork in their pocket while they’re sleeping. That’s one more cork down.

6. Pack your own pockets with corks before you leave home in the morning, and distribute them around the city. My favorite place to leave corks is at my local public-library branch. I’ve left dozens there in the past month alone. Friends’ homes are another alternative.

7. Throw corks at weddings! They sort of look like rice. Try not to hit the bride and groom, as corks can cause serious injury.

8. Listen to a police radio for 911 chatter. When you hear about a house on fire, rush there as fast as you possibly can and toss in a sack of corks. It’s fun to watch corks burn.

9. Eat corks! Pop a cork in your mouth from time to time. After a while, you’ll start to enjoy the taste, and eventually your body will figure out how to digest them. Some days I eat only corks.

10. Finally, feel free to throw a few of those corks away! After all, you’re not superhuman. You’ve done your part, and there’s no way in hell you can get rid of them all at the rate you’re drinking.

Today is My Wife’s Birthday

img_4343Throughout the year there are many dates that have a very special meaning for all of us and perhaps one of the most anticipated and celebrated one of them are birthdays. My wife’s birthday is the most important day to me. And not just because I forgot it ONCE!

My entire professional and personal accomplishments have been achieved because of her support. All this while she has accomplished amazing things as well!

I feel greatly blessed for the joy that I have for being with you and for celebrating another year of your life.  A few months ago we decided to throw you a great party for your birthday. I was thinking what gift I should give you, and then I realized that there are many things you would like to receive as a gift, but the most important thing for you is that I give you my unconditional love and the rest of my life with you. You are a wonderful, and above all full of patience woman. Thanks for putting up with me!

I do not want you to worry about the pass of time because every day that passes you get more and more beautiful and I love you more and more, so be happy and feel very happy to be celebrating your birthday.

I love you with all my heart .

 

A Season of Hope. We can have better days.

fullsizeoutput_3ea1The days are getting longer. Each minute brings us closer to summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Time does not have a rearview mirror or reverse. It can only move in one direction. We have HOPE for better days.

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days
Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I need someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we’re alive
And the one poor child who saved this world
And there’s 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

From David Bowie in January to the mother daughter deaths of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher 2016 took it’s toll. We could mourn these people or realize what they added to our lives and look forward to 2017.

Happy New Year.

Peace,

Tony