Archive for June, 2009

Dr. Oliver Sacks on language and music

June 30, 2009

My admiration for Dr. Oliver Sacks is no secret. He was just on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night talking about the effects of music on the brain. I am thrilled that he was discussing this on mainstream TV as more people watch The Daily Show than have read his excellent book, Musicophilia. He discussed that even after a stroke, people will still remember music even if they forget language. I wonder what would happen to someone who had learned another language through music. Would he/she have a better chance of retaining their language skills after a stroke?

Watch this clip from The Daily Show:

This man is a wonderful gift to humanity.


The art of the staycation

June 27, 2009

The art of the staycation



I’d never heard the word staycation until this year. Journalists send out queries to travel writers asking about how to write tips on staycations.


While waiting for the bus to La Guardia airport in Queens, New York, I saw a sign that read, “Daycation: Treat yourself to a hot dog for 50 cents”.


I chucked at the site of the ad and wondered what a staycation would be. 


Believe it or not, I am exhausted from traveling. This summer will be full of staycations for me. 


Here are some ideas for a staycation:


1) The summer is full of free concerts, outdoor movie screenings, dance performances and festivals. I’ll be there.


2) Not working. That’s quite simple. I will just take time to take walks, read for pleasure and spend time with my friends.


3) International Photo Album Potlucks. My college mentor organized a potluck seven years ago where all the guests brought photo albums from their international trips and prepared foods from those countries. We passed around albums and heard about people’s trips and stories. It was an inexpensive way to eat foreign food and “see” life in another country.


4) Videos and documentaries about other places. Oh yes! I will watch documentaries or movies about other countries on my TV screen. There is a time and place to visit a country and a time to just sit on one’s couch and vicariously travel.


5) Listening to my favorite music while hanging on my hammock. Oh, Maria Callas. You are my solace. 


If I think of some more ideas, I will write them here!