Day: May 3, 2020

Arts & Entertainment, Events, Featured Post

Legend of the Poppy

Compiled by Lani Gering In Flanders Fields By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. Each year around Memorial Day, Veterans of Foreign Wars members and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers distribute millions of bright red poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. The program provides multiple benefits to the veterans and to the community. The hospitalized veterans who make the flowers are able to earn a small wage, which helps to supplement their incomes and makes them feel more self-sufficient. The physical and mental activity provides many therapeutic benefits as well. Donations are used exclusively to assist and support veterans and their families. The poppy also reminds the community of the past sacrifices and continuing needs of our veterans. The poppy has become a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is worn to honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars. The poppy movement was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces in 1915 before the United States entered World War I. By 1918 the poem was well known throughout the allied world. Moina Michael, an American woman, wrote…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes


By Ron Powers The Best by AWOLNATION I was recently going through a list of musicians I admire when I came across a new song by AWOLNATION called “The Best”. This tune has an inspirational and uplifting tone that is just what the doctor ordered for a time like this. Many are reaching to music to ease the uncertain feeling in the air. So, if you can use a little more vigor and hope, I recommend cranking up this exciting new tune. The crowning jewel of this song is the top line melody. The chorus melody, in particular, caught my attention. Lead singer Aaron Bruno sets things up with a relatively low-key verse melody which has a yearning emotional tone to it. This contrasts with the driving syncopated rhythm of the chorus melody and allows the pumped up and inspirational tone of the chorus to stand out. This melodic dynamic is the central reason the song pops and hooks the listener. “The Best” is essentially a power pop anthem with hard rock undertones. The song begins with a palm muted slightly-overdriven guitar line with a delay effect. Sprinkled in the background we hear a synth-like bell sound which gives the song a mysterious and atmospheric vibe. Next, a nostalgic sounding lead synth line introduces the main musical hook just before the full band is introduced giving us a glimpse of the pounding music that lies ahead. The thing I love most about the music for this song is how the guitars, synths, and bass tones contrast with the drum tone. For example, AWOLNATION uses huge hard-edged drum sounds juxtaposed against emotive yet powerful guitar, synth, and bass sounds. This emphasizes the “anthemic” quality of the song and is a major reason you feel empowered and emotionally moved all at once…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word


Unorthodox By Miriam R. Kramer Not only is this the time of COVID-19, it is also the time of escape through TV binging and reading. I recently came across an unusual series on Netflix called Unorthodox. Based on the book written by a former Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, it offers more than a peek at the world of a closed society most of us know nothing about: the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Satmar sect in New York. Deborah Feldman, who wrote Unorthodox, escaped from her very insular community in which rigid rules are prescribed for the roles of both men and women. To follow up I read the book Unchosen by Hella Winston, a book about the lives of New York Hasids who test the boundaries of their fundamentalist communities or find a way to leave them altogether. Unorthodox is only four episodes, so you can zoom through it. As an adaptation of Deborah Feldman’s book, it does not follow her story precisely. Esty, or Esther Schwartz, is a young Satmar Hasid. She must follow precise rules in growing up as a young woman whose future is already written: that of a wife and mother who must not sing in front of men or practice the music she loves. Her role is to respect her husband’s wishes and produce as many children as possible. Esty’s mother, who is gay, escaped the sect and her husband, early on. Therefore, she lives with her grandparents. Her aunt has contacted a matchmaker who sets her up with Yanky Shapiro. As is traditional, she only meets him briefly before her wedding is arranged. Shira Haas plays Esty beautifully. The series starts with Esty’s escape, as she takes only the minimum with her and buys a ticket to Berlin, traveling on a German passport validated through her…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Special Rosés for Mother’s Day

By Matthew Fitzsimmons Special Rosés for Mother’s Day Years ago I gave my mom a wine glass etched with the phrase “Mommy Juice”. She was not amused. But I must have been on to something, because now every time I check-in to a winery on Facebook she inevitably posts “What you getting me?”. Like the good son I am, very often mom gets a bottle. But since we are celebrating Mother’s Day this month, I think it’s important to get her something extra special. And by ‘extra special’, that means some great rosés. I couldn’t tell you why rosé wines are so closely associated with Mother’s Day; anyone who’s had an Italian rosato can tell you there’s nothing ‘feminine’ about this drink, and neither should it be confined to a certain holiday or season. As far as I’m concerned, rosé should be drank all year long. But I can see why rosés have such a special appeal for Mother’s Day. Light, versatile and refreshing, it’s particularly suited for drinking outside on a warm spring day. So in celebration of Mother’s Day here are some Virginia rosé that mothers (as well as everyone else) will love. No worries if you can’t make it to the winery to pick these vintages up curbside – these places deliver! Pearmund Cellars: The Cameo Collection Pearmund Cellars has been one of my go-to wineries for years. It’s also one of the closer ones to D.C., right off Route 15 past Gainesville. As much as I love the wine I admit my favorite part is seeing their golden retriever, Tug, sprawled in front of the doorway. Apparently belly-rubs are the price of admission here. I look forward to seeing him again. In the meantime, I am hoping that he is greeting people as they pick up…

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History, History Column

Infectious Diseases Throughout the Years

By Sarah Becker Infectious Diseases Throughout the Years Today it is the unexpected arrival of an acute febrile respiratory disease, COVID-19 that sickens America.  COVID-19, a relative of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) was first discovered in China in December 2019.  The United States recorded its first COVID-19 case on January 21, 2020; on March 11 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the “novel coronavirus” a pandemic.  Fifteen days later one third of the world’s population was on lockdown. The first seemingly flu-like case was diagnosed in Wuhan, China; then Europe, Italy and Spain especially.  Now the United States is infected, all 50 states: Washington and New York States; New York City (the epi-center); Los Angeles, New Orleans and Detroit; rural populations as well. Disease surveillance “is the continuing scrutiny of all aspects of occurrence and spread that are pertinent to control.”  The speed of COVID-19’s spread boggles the mind.  It is transmitted by droplet spread including oral contact (sneeze, cough) and hands (touch and contaminated surfaces). By March 25, 2020, the stay at home health crisis had given way to economic chaos: supply shortages including personal professional equipment [PPE]; prolonged school and business closings; job layoffs and a historic $2.2 trillion Federal relief bill.  The Defense Production Act of 1950 was revived, albeit slowly. Disease occurs when cells in the human body are damaged as a result of infection.  Infectious diseases are caused by living organisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and parasitic worms.  The South succumbed to hookworm in 1909. Infectious diseases spread by direct contact: via vectors like the mosquito; contaminated food, water and blood; and airborne droplets.  The pandemic Spanish influenza slowed the First World War, and in 1918 in Alexandria “expectorating on sidewalks” became punishable by law.  Today’s law enforcement officers spend their time scattering…

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