The Great Bicycle Race That Isn't
The other day, I happened to be walking past the teepee near the entrance to the town when I came upon this sign. (The Stray Bullet was "currently closed" only because it was late in the day.)
You can get a first-hand view of this amazing event in Lael Wilcox’s video of her 2019 race, “I Just Want To Ride.”
We’ve had a face-lift on this side of town with a new paint job to our building. We look spiffy and ready for the world. It’s a lift too to see the open door of the Stray Bullet Café for breakfast and traffic through the Angler. I also appreciate the gentle reminders of coronavirus precautions.
The Tour Divide is not the only Great Bicycle Race that Isn’t! If you can believe it, the Tour de France has gone virtual. Another testimony to human ingenuity and tech talents. In this short video, you will see the actual riders at home, riding their hearts out on stationery bikes, their speeds recorded via the virtual site. It’s amazing to watch, though it certainly doesn’t take the place of the real McCoy. But a lot of real McCoys have fallen by the wayside in these months. Here are high-lights, but you should check in on one of the online races. Awesome!
After the 3 year-old Danish dancing marvel I shared in the last Letter, I have another Super Toddler who will surprise you. The ability of a 3 year old to entertain, adult-like, by dancing, may be outdone by the sight of adults behaving like children. Either way, this Chinese version of the ever-popular “Got Talent” genre is worth the watch.
“Guanyin made an oath to worry about all living things
until they are free from problems and suffering.
At this point, the goddess tried to help ordinary people
and noticed how her hands began to be torn apart.
Amitabha helped her and gave her thousands of hands.”
The next piece I want to share is another remarkable example of a disability—in this case blindness and autism--transformed into the offering of a spiritual gift by a ten-year old boy. I think you will be moved by it and the hope it provides for overcoming hardship. Meet the inspiring Christopher Duffley.
Goodness shows up in unexpected places, on land and sea. I thank my friend Wayne Tyson for sharing a video of the rescue of a humpbacked whale by a small fishing boat crew. Keep in mind that a humpback whale can grow to 60 feet long, and weigh up to 40 tons. A mere shrug of a flipper (up to 16 feet long) could have upended the fragile craft, which makes their courage even greater and the whale’s appreciation of them even more obvious.
Now, in honor of that majestic creature of the sea, I share one of my favorite pieces with you. Turn up your best speakers or don your finest earphones to listen to the song of the humpback whale as recorded in the depths by Roger Payne and “sung with” by the incomparable Paul Winter Consort in his composition Whale Lullaby, from the album Callings. Dedicated to the memory of my friend, and the whales’ friend, Jim Meadows, with thanks to Craig Wilson who introduced me to this album so many years ago.
On the lighter side… Growing up in the 1950s, we never missed watching Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner skits on the Show of Shows. Carl Reiner just passed away, so if you weren’t familiar with him, you will see him in this skit as the Health Food Restaurant Waiter. Considering that health food restaurants were virtually nonexistent in the 50s, the piece is ahead of its time!
Fast forward to the 70s. I was part of the Earth Song Bookstore-Ocean Song Gallery family in Del Mar, California. It was the Happening Place back then and our Halloween Parties were open to the whole town and so well-attended that the Fire Department eventually shut them down. Music was provided by Peter Sprague’s Dance of the Universe band made up of talented young musicians from Torrey Pines High School. Peter went on to become one of our finest jazz musicians, playing with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Ravi Shankar and other celebrated musicians, gaining a worldwide reputation for his compositions and recordings.
Put your earphones back on! I have a real treat for you, to end this letter on a mellow note. Unable to perform his live concerts, Peter decided to do virtual concerts from his recording studio, Spragueland, in Encinitas, California. In addition to great music, you get to see behind the scenes of a professional recording studio. I’m astonished by the quantity of wires and levers that surround them! Not only is Peter a superb composer-guitarist, but a technical wizard as well. Many great albums have come out of Spragueland over the years.
It is a full concert, but you can pause between numbers or just take in the first one. That was my intention but I got lured into listening to the last note. You get a front row seat for some jazz greats. Enjoy!
This is for my young friend and budding musician Max Del Monte, and my seasoned jazz-lover Kathleen Chambers.
On that note, I wish you good health and happy days.