Mario Lanza – The World’s Greatest Tenor

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Mario Lanza looked like a god, he sang like a god. He was the world’s first Superstar. Mario Lanza, the romantic hero, with his immense beauty and richness of voice, made Opera sexy! Continue reading

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Folk to Polkas

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By now everyone should know that the Polka is not a National Dance in Poland, but rather, Polkas come from old folk tunes, set to a dance beat by Polish Americans. Continue reading

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Doctor Who at Fifty-Two

This gallery contains 18 photos.

They say you never forget your first Doctor. Even though I saw a couple of episodes of Doctor Who in the 1970’s and consider Tom Baker to be the ultimate Doctor, it was Christopher Eccleston who pulled me into the world of Doctor Who. Now that Peter Capaldi has taken the helm, and has re-discovered Gallifrey, anything is possible. Continue reading

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I Met Paul

This gallery contains 14 photos.

The other day when I was googling myself to see what I, and my name-sakes, were up to, (yes, there are several of us), I stumbled on a blog about Me, and the Paul McCartney VISA commercial I was in !! Continue reading

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Dejah Thoris of Barsoom

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Dejah Thoris is a name I have often used as a pseudonym, ever since I first read the 1912 novel, A Princess of Mars… the basis for the 2012 film, John Carter. It was in the 1970’s that I first discovered Barsoom (as the natives call Mars), and was swept away by the high adventure and romance of the world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Continue reading

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O Little Town of EUReKA

This gallery contains 18 photos.

„I love science class!” is what one visitor to Eureka exclaimed upon seeing all the wonders that take place in this cozy Pacific Northwest town. Drama, comedy, action, and romance drive this quality science-fiction TV show. Continue reading

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Onion Harvest „Dożynki” Festival

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The Onion Harvest Festival in the black dirt region of Pine Island, NY, was a Woodstock-like outdoor celebration, beginning with a float Parade, the crowning of a Queen and her court, presentation of the wreath to the Lord and Lady of the Manor, Polka dancing, Polish cuisine, and more than 200 locals, young and old, dressed in home-made Polish costumes, performing traditional Polish folk songs and dances. Continue reading

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Greece

This gallery contains 41 photos.

The Greek people are the most beautiful I have ever seen. Each woman a goddess, each man an Adonis !! Continue reading

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Poland 6

This gallery contains 25 photos.

There I was, sitting in the shadow of the Royal Castle on Wawel Hill, gazing out over the Wisła River, and eating pierogi. It just doesn’t get any better than this!!! Continue reading

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Malta

This gallery contains 16 photos.

The Knights of St. John had to give the King of Spain a falcon every year, in exchange for the rights to Malta. The Mediterranean island nation has been controlled by so many cultures, going back to the Phoenecians, that its history would take a lifetime to study. Continue reading

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Italy 2

This gallery contains 34 photos.

As we watched the glass-blower create intricate patterns, we wondered, where in the world is Yvette? After all, it was Yvette’s idea to come to the Island of Morano. Sure enough, after visiting every shop on the island in search of the glass jewelry Yvette so desperately wanted, she was the only one who did not buy anything (other than gelato, of course.) Continue reading

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Slovakia

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Are you afraid of heights? she asked. No. Do you have good hiking shoes? Yes. According to what I could translate of the brochure, the Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise) was a beautiful natural park with almost 200 caves and abysses, and I was looking forward to the hike. There were other words, however, that I was not sure I was translating correctly: Ladders and Bow-ties. What?? Continue reading

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Poland 5

This gallery contains 27 photos.

Having identified the restaurant with the best pierogi, and having located a booth with incredible placki (potato pancakes), I was still being challenged in the search for my favorite ice cream, Advocaat likier jajeczny. That’s because all the ice cream stands changed their selection every day. Continue reading

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Egypt 4

This gallery contains 39 photos.

The area around Amarna had been off limits to tourists for years, due to problems around El Minya, but now we were headed there. Even though the four of us were traveling on our own, not part of a tour, we still had a police escort, which changed as we entered new territories. But when we neared Assyut, we were shocked to see our escort was a Tank !!! Yikes !!! Continue reading

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Tibet

This gallery contains 43 photos.

There I was, on top of the world !! Well, it wasn’t exactly Mt. Everest, but I was at 17,121 feet (5,220 meters) atop the “Ocean Pass” high in the Himalayas. Continue reading

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Nepal

This gallery contains 19 photos.

The bodies had been dipped three times in the Bagmati River and were now ready for cremation. The Hindu traditions exist side by side with Buddhist in the three cities of the Kathmandu Valley. Continue reading

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Bhutan

This gallery contains 39 photos.

Druk Yul, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. That is the Kingdom of Bhutan. Secluded high in the Himalayas, it is a country based on Gross National Happiness. There is no poverty here, no crime, and the only country I’ve been to where you can visit the market without someone pushing you to buy something. Continue reading

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Poland 4

This gallery contains 43 photos.

I returned to my room in the tower of Krasiczyn Castle following a performance of the Magnificent Mazowsze at the giant sports arena in Rzeszów. Filled to capacity, including the floor of the arena, the audience began cheering wildly as soon as the orchestra walked out. It was like being at a rock concert or sporting event, for among the attendees were performers from 30 dance groups from around the world, and they all idolized the Mazowsze Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble. Continue reading

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China 2 – The Silk Road

This gallery contains 60 photos.

We were about 100 miles from Afghanistan, when the president of the USA talked about bombing that country. Up until now we believed that China was the safest place to be in the days following 9/11. The Beijing hotel where we stayed that fateful day, had given all the Americans letters of condolence. As we traveled westward towards Kashgar, the news reports were all in Mandarin, but the images were unmistakable. Continue reading

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Poland 3

This gallery contains 36 photos.

The Choreographer for the Mazowsze Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble left his car double parked in front of the hotel, as he rushed in to greet us. A bouquet of flowers for my Mother, a turquoise shawl for me. Continue reading

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South India

This gallery contains 56 photos.

After noticing the people who were washing their clothes in the river and drying them by laying them on the grass, one of the hotels I stayed at, sent our laundry “out” to be done. Yes, it came back clean, but there was a bit of grass on some of the items !!! Continue reading

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Russia

This gallery contains 24 photos.

I was having trouble reading the menu in the McDonald’s in St. Petersburg, so, with my limited Russian, I asked the girl what kind of sauces they had for their Chicken Nuggets. Thankfully, the Russian words for “sweet and sour sauce” are the same in Polish, so I was able to place my order. Continue reading

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Turkmenistan

This gallery contains 21 photos.

The immense golden statues of the Turkmenbashi could be seen all over the city of Ashkabat, and, in every hotel and public building, his portrait. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Saparmurat Niyazov declared himself President for Life. He did a lot for the people of Turkmenistan, but, as with most dictators, not all of his actions were beneficial. Continue reading

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Uzbekistan

This gallery contains 32 photos.

We left the fabled blue-tiled city of Samarkand, following the Silk Road through the Kara Kum desert, on our way to the holy city of Bukhara, and Khiva, the city of a thousand and one domes. Samarkand, one of the oldest cities of the world, the legendary capital of the Sogdians, the seat of Tamerlane’s empire, the city that Alexander the Great called the most beautiful he had ever seen. Continue reading

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Myanmar/Burma

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Following the trail of the lavender jade, we crossed the border into Myanmar (Burma), and spent the day in the city of Tachileik, near the Golden Triangle. Continue reading

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Thailand

This gallery contains 48 photos.

Given the opportunity to ride as Mahout, I climbed onto the elephant’s neck… and prayed that he didn’t decide to bend down to eat or something, for I could only hold on with my knees. Continue reading

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Cambodia

This gallery contains 19 photos.

The bones inside the memorial were a sad reminder that our tour guide’s mother and two brothers had been killed by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. However, he was proud of his heritage, and with the knowledge of an archaeologist, Long explained the Hindu and Buddhist carvings on the temples around Angkor, including the famous Angkor Wat, built by King SuryaVarman, as well as the 40 temples built by King JayaVarman VII. Continue reading

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Austria

This gallery contains 26 photos.

We sat in the second row at the Muzikverein, as the Mozart orchestra performed, dressed in period costumes. This was where the New Years in Vienna concerts were held, and this was where my Mom wanted to be. Inspired by Andre Rieu, she chose this musical trip to Austria for her first visit to Europe. Continue reading

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Poland 2

This gallery contains 66 photos.

„What are your plans for Warsaw?” he asked me. “I hope to visit Wilanów Palace, Łazienki Palace, and the Royal Castle, and, of course, see a Mazowsze performance.” “Ok, I’ll pick up up at 9 A.M.” Continue reading

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Jordan

This gallery contains 25 photos.

Passing through the Sikh, we emerged, looking upon the facade of the Treasury, rising high above us. The rose-colored rock-cut building marks the entrance to the lost Nabatean city of Petra. Continue reading

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Egypt 3

This gallery contains 76 photos.

“Homage to thee Ra, Supreme power, who makes the earth visible, who gives light to those Westerners…”

That was the Litany to Re that we recited one night in front of the awesome temple of Rameses the Great at Abu Simbel. Continue reading

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China 1

This gallery contains 38 photos.

We walked the streets of the village that would no longer exist after the dam was built. I was glad to have gotten to China while the Yangtze River was still low enough that the mountains soared. Continue reading

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Egypt 2

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The tomb was filled with debris. It was still being excavated, and we were not supposed to be inside KV 5, but we had connections with the Antiquities Department. I went in as far as the Osiris statue, and it was, to quote Kent Weeks himself, “One of the most amazing experiences of my life.” Continue reading

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Italy 1

This gallery contains 6 photos.

The elevator was full, so we stepped over to the next one, and waited. It was midnight, and we were exhausted from our long journey. When the door finally opened, we were stunned to see that it, too, was full. Inside, the same people who had been in the other elevator. What?!?? Continue reading

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Las Vegas

This gallery contains 29 photos.

An Egyptian friend of mine had been a consultant on the building of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. When it first opened, it even had a Nile River cruise, complete with tour-guide. And so, before my second trip to Egypt, I thought it was worth checking out. Continue reading

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Egypt 1

This gallery contains 42 photos.

I had no idea where the Egyptian on horseback had taken me, but it was wonderful. We had ridden out into the desert, away from Saqqara, to an area where workers were excavating several small pyramids. Crawling into one of them, I discovered only sand, and a bucket. Continue reading

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Jamaica 1 & 2

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It’s called the „See Me No More” Valley, because people tend to disappear when entering. Fortunately we were just passing through by train… a day-long tour of Jamaica that we took while our sunburns healed. After baking like coconut macaroons because we applied the cocoanut oil sold to us by “Doctor Joe”, we were lucky we had also purchased his fresh aloe concoction, which did the trick. Continue reading

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Romania

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The moon was full, lighting the way for my late night visit to Dracula’s Palace. I was accompanied by a handsome Romanian college student, whom I had met on the train from Bucuresti to Tirgoviste. He didn’t quite understand my interest in this “historical site”, and so, I climbed over the wall alone. Continue reading

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Poland 1

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As I walked through the empty shell of the castle, I was filled with pride. For my people were rebuilding what had been destroyed by war… specifically, The Royal Castle in Warsaw. I first became aware of the construction, when the Mazowsze Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble sang a song about it. Continue reading

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The Road I Traveled – USA, Canada, & the world

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Gazing out across the icy waters of the Lake of Heaven, at the snow-capped Bogda Shan Mountain, I was not concerned that I had become separated from my group. Sure, I was 100 km. from Urumqi, the most inland place on earth (farthest from any ocean), but as a seasoned traveler, I knew that eventually I’d find my way. I simply couldn’t pass up a boat trip across Tianchi Lake, after all, that was one of the reasons I was in Xinjiang. Continue reading

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Kolędy from Mazowsze

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When the Mazowsze Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble toured the U.S.A. and Canada, they dazzled audiences with, not only songs and dances from 43 ethnographic regions of Poland, but they also sang several beautiful Kolędy, Polish Christmas Carols, which echo the rhythms of the Polonaise, Mazur, Kujawiak, and Krakowiak, Poland’s national dances. Continue reading

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Poland’s Five National Dances

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Poland is a nation rich in culture, and musical tradition. In fact, Poland even has five (5) National Dances. There are few countries in the world that have even one national dance. Continue reading

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Regeneration of the Doctor

This gallery contains 10 photos.

One of the reasons that the highly successful TV series, Doctor Who has lasted nearly 50 years is an ingenious plot devise: Regeneration. Not only does it allow for the replacement of the actor, but also injects new life into the show, with a new take on the character. Continue reading

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Mazowsze Legends

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Maybe it was the memory of a song on the radio… or a Mazur from a Chopin concert… Maybe it was the Polish blood flowing through my veins…. Maybe it was all of these things that caused my heart to beat to the rhythms of the music of Tadeusz Sygietyński. Whatever it was, it was magic ! I was hooked !! Continue reading

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Waiting for the Doctor….

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Marking time as we wait for the next series featuring the last of the Time Lords, let’s talk about our favorite Doctor Who scenes… Continue reading

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The Magnificent Mazowsze… in the Matecznik

This gallery contains 14 photos.

As the girls sang, they put their arms around each other and swayed side to side. Having taken this song to their hearts, he knew they would touch the hearts of their audience, so it was added to their repertoire. Continue reading

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It’s Oberek time !!

This gallery contains 7 photos.

While the Polka is not one of Poland’s National Dances, the Oberek is !
The Oberek is also the second most popular dance among Polish Americans. Continue reading

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The History of Poland you never knew…

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Poland was a pioneer in Democracy, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Religion, Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Education, and more.
This is the history of Poland that you never knew. Continue reading

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Around the World with Mazowsze

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Everyone who has ever seen Mazowsze knows that they are the No.1 Polish folk song and dance troupe in the world, but you may not know that Mazowsze’s repertoire also consists of songs from 50 other nations as well. Songs that they sing when on tour in those countries…. Continue reading

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The Pie

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The funeral parlor was crowded with family and friends who braved the snow storm on New Year’s day to say farewell to my Mother. As my brother, sister-in-law, and I navigated the crowd, in walked a very attractive woman about my age.
“You don’t know who I am, do you?” she asked. Continue reading

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Listen to the Mockingbird

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Birds are like little angels, bringing sweet songs and divine guidance to us. The message of the Mockingbird is Respect….as in R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and they certainly could rival Aretha Franklin in the way they belt out a song. Continue reading

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Beneath the Surface

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I remember sitting in a friend’s apartment in Los Angeles, watching Zahi Hawass in a galabeya, sort through slides for an upcoming lecture at UCLA. He gets called away to the phone, a female admirer is on the line…. Continue reading

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The Cloister Bell

This gallery contains 7 photos.

After several disappointments this season, Steven Moffat finally proved why he is my favorite Doctor Who storyteller. Although Russell Davies is great at the epic story, Moffat weaves tales full of twists and turns and surprises, as evidenced by the two part season ender: Pandorica/Big Bang. Continue reading

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Beware of the Dance Mix !!

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The unfortunate thing about Europe is Techno-Rock….
In my efforts to buy one of Siklawa’s CD’s, I made the mistake of buying their “Dance Mix” album. I mean, it had the song titles I was looking for….
Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be Techno Rock !!! Yikes !! Continue reading

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The Naked Doctor

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Would you like to see William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton shirtless? I was ready to say ‘Yuck’ when we saw the 11th Doctor fall out of the shower in the Doctor Who episode, The Lodger, but then remembered that Jon Pertwee also had a shower scene in Spearhead from Space, donning a similar blue towel when he emerged !!
Continue reading

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