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Variations, "Purple Rain" Tributes to Prince

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This is my favorite Prince song — I still don't  even know what he was talking about, but the song always sounded mournful to me, and evoked emotions buried just under the surface. It was just soulful in a way that defies explanation. Maybe somebody can explain, but I can't
Among the many tributes after his death, including pilgrimages to Minnesota, my favorites came from the artists who honored Prince with their own renditions of "Purple Rain" — Cynthia Erivo and Jennifer Hudson leading the cast of "The Color Purple" in an old-fashioned soul-touching gospel music style that grabs your heart and bring you to tears (unless you are a stone.)
Enjoy them all,  but please not at the same time.


Springsteen and the E St. Band sounds like Bruce



Maroon 5's Adam Levine rocks it.



Buffet has a country twang.



And these guys below, none famous, giving it their all. From Minneapolis



From Australia



A college showcase performance a week before Prince died posted in tribu…
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"We just lost the greatest recording artist of all time. " This piece in The Daily Beast posted on the day Prince died pretty much says it all. I'm amazed by the wave of heartfelt tributes after the news broke. I'm surprised by how deeply moved I was by the passing of a person I did not know. I'm struck by the outpouring of love from so many young people who weren't even born when "Purple Rain" — the movie and the song —first blew me away.



What was it about this man that has so many seemingly differing souls feeling the loss? What is it that we share?

Going through the Prince playlist, and listening again to recordings I hadn't heard in ages, it occurs to me that he was transcendent—spanning  genres, decades, generations, and racial divides. He wasn't defined by any label and what an amazing guitarist! 

Check out this virtuoso solo performance at the 2004 Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.  Prince is standing on the edge—rocking a red hat—then tak…

Resurface, Reboot and Relocate

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There was nothing left to say. 
Nothing remotely interesting  happening to write about. 
Not passionate about any one thing enough to write about it.
That's the reason why there is this big gap in time since the last post. Nearly a year. 
In that time, I've continued to lead classes at the Washington English Center. I was selected to be a volunteer at the National Museum of African American History and Culture opening in September. I'm hoping maybe the experience there will inspire me to write again. I've been working as a contractor, writing  and editing abstracts for an industry newsletter that's published at 9 am. I've mostly stopped posting on FaceBook, unless something truly moving, surprising, stunning or just plain joyful happens and I can't resist sharing. I get up every weekday morning before 4:30 to start work. I try to go to bed early,  but mostly do not succeed and I still resent not being able to stay up until the wee hours of the morning. I a…

Two Days, Three Neighbors, Ugly Space Transformed Into Mini Garden

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You never know what might happen when you actually make contact with your neighbors.
I commented in passing to the couple who lives on the front of our tiny community  on how lovely their tiny garden space is. That got them talking, for the first time since I moved here just before the turn of the century. Him,  I'd said "hello" to when our paths crossed near the gate. Her, I'd never said anything at all.
 But the icebreaker opened the floodgates and I learned not only her name (his I knew because he's active in HOA) but that they'd  just launched a landscaping firm and were doing small spaces. I also learned that it's the beginning of the plan for their "second act." As I've already begun my second act, I was really interested in their story. Long story short, before I learned of their new vocation, I mentioned that I longed to do something with this barren patch outside my garage.

Before long, they were offering to help me achieve my goal…

Time to Pack Again... States I've (Not) Visited

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By the looks of this map, I've got a lot of ground to make up when it comes to traveling the country. I wonder what it means to have only ventured along the edges?



Create Your Own Visited States Map

 If money and time were not factors, in no particular order) here are 10 of the unvisited states I'd most like to visit and why:
Washington  - To experience the Seattle vibeTexas - Is the Peoples' Republic of Austin Real?Missouri - St Louis blues and barbecue Michigan - Is Detroit ever coming back and what will it be?Alaska - Eskimos and IcebergsWisconsin - Milwaukee for beer bratsOhio -  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in ClevelandMaine - Because it's Maine where no one I've ever met has beenWest Virginia - Scenic roads and hot springsKansas - To stand at the center of the lower 48

ESL Class: Around the World in 180 Minutes

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Myanmar, Peru, Serbia, Chile, Russia, Mexico, Ethiopia, and India.

I got to vicariously visit those countries, and more, when "Great Outfits" was the topic of the day for students in my English as a Second Language (ESL)  class.

The co-teacher and I  had asked our adult ESL students to wear an item of clothing from their homeland (or the place where they were born -- not sure how to politely phrase this, but that's a topic for another post).  They were given the option to bring  pictures if they didn't want to wear  traditional clothing.

On the appointed day, in a class of a dozen people,  only a pair of women from Myanmar wore traditional dress -- beautiful, brightly colored, long  wrap skirts with delicate blouses, much like the outfit pictured here.

After the ladies from Myanmar modeled their Great Outfits, everyone was given an iPad  to find and share  images of traditional clothing from their culture.

Before we could organize a structured conversation game cente…

ESL Teaching, Learning and Long-forgotten Grammar Rules

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What's a contraction? or What is a contraction?

There are a million of them used by English speakers to shorten a word or words… Something I do not think I had ever thought about  --  until a lesson on clothing included an exercise requiring the teacher to explain contractions to a class of  English as a Second Language Students. I was stumped.



The dictionary says they're (contraction) used mostly in informal conversation and rarely in formal, written English.

 I'm (another contraction) not so sure that description still holds when pretty much all communication now is informal. I suppose businesses still use formal written English and I'm sure the federal government does.




So  how do you make sense of this for a class of adult  ESL students from at least seven countries, including Myanmar?

Tough one. For that class, I decided to just try explaining that they'll (contraction) need for Wednesday's (not a contraction) lesson.
's = is (or has) as in She's, wh…