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Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Last Letter From Abkhazia

The last letter of 2015 arrived at 2pm today.

It was the only letter in the mailbox with a nice gift.

Here it is :


Happy New Year to my friends in Abkhazia, Russia , and everybody everywhere !

7:47 pm cst          Comments

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bob Silver

Bob Silver


Bob Silver was my friend, a brother, he cared.

A tzadik, a hero to both Jewish and Christian communities.

Here is his obituary reprinted from the Commercial Appeal.

Robert Alan "Bob" Silver

Memphis, TN

He passed away on December 23, 2015 at Baptist Memorial Hospital after battling Parkinson's disease for many years.

Bob, who was 71 years old was the husband of Judi Silver. They would have celebrated their 52nd anniversary on December 27, 2015.

He was a member of Temple Israel. He graduated from Roxbury High School in Succasunna, New Jersey and received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Miami and his Master's degree from Barry University in Miami.

Bob started his career in 1967 with the Jewish community in Miami and then moved to the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center. In 1978 he became the Associate Director of the Memphis Jewish Community Center where he started and organized the North American Maccabbi games. He later became the Director of Jewish Family Service in Memphis where he changed many lives with over 500 adoptions, thousands of counseling sessions, senior connection and care giving programs. He retired in December 2011.

Born in Bronx, New York on February 24, 1944, Bob was the son of the late Charles and Gwen Silver.

Besides his wife Bob is survived by three children a son, Larry (Amy) Silver of Atlanta, Georgia; a daughter, Caryn (Zumi) Brody of Cherry Hill, New Jersey; a daughter Tami Silver of North Port, Florida; a sister, Joan Kessler of Memphis, Tennessee; 8 grandchildren and his special dog named Jake.

Services will be today, December 24, 2015 at 10 am in the Levy-Cooper Chapel at Temple Israel Cemetery.

The family requests that any memorials be sent to the Mid-South Parkinson Foundation – Memphis or a charity of the donor's choice .


He was an angel from G-d. 

אלוהים אדירים רשאי לשמור כסף רוברט בידיים שלו לנצח באהבה

 Goodbye my friend.

8:44 pm cst          Comments

Monday, December 28, 2015

Choer du Trinity College

Trinity College in Cambridge will send a chill up your spine.

They're astonishing ! Listening to them makes my day.

This rare Red Seal recording will lift you out of your chair.

See if you can find it.

Trinity College French Choral Works 1990

 Track Listing
1. Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48
2. Cantique de Jean Racine, for 4-part chorus & organ (or orchestra), Op. 11
3. Motets (4) on Gregorian Themes, for chorus, Op.10
4. Missa "Cum Jubilo", for baritone, baritone chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 11
5. O sacrum convivium!, for voices, I/18
6. O Salutaris hostia, chorale prelude for organ (after Henry DuMont's motet)
7. Ave Verum, motet for soprano & alto (or 2-part female chorus) & organ, Op. 65/1
8. Salve Regina, motet for 4 voices
9. Ave Maria, motet for baritone, 2 sopranos & organ in B minor, Op. 93
10. Messe basse, for solo voices, chorus & organ
11. L' Enfance du Christ, oratorio for soprano, 2 tenors, baritone, 3 basses, chorus & orchetsra ("trilo
12. Ave Maria, for voice & piano (after Bach's Prelude No. 1 from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1)
13. Panis angelicus for tenor, organ, harp, cello & bass
14. Ave Verum Corpus, motet for female voices, FP 154
15. Salve Regina, for chorus, FP 110
16. Exultate Deo, motet for solemn occasions, for chorus, FP 109
17. Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël, for chorus, FP 152
18. Quatre petites prières de Saint François d'Assise, for men's chorus, FP 142
19. Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence, for chorus, FP 97

It's a breezy, cool December day in Memphis.

12:04 pm cst          Comments

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hell's Angels

Hell's Angels are legendary.

They protect the weak when they have to, raise money for charity and commit many of their activities to community service projects which assist the poor.

They've benefitted families in need throughout the world with their sympathy and generosity which, sadly, is rarely recognized.

But make no mistake about it, they'll  get mean if they're offended.

It's true that some of their members have been convicted of serious crimes, including murder.

They like to say, "When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets."

Nonetheless, they're an important part of the history of this nation, the good and the bad, like the sweet with the sour.

Good or bad, nonetheless, I believe that they should be represented on an American postage stamp.

Besides, Hell's Angels would be the first "outlaws" ever represented on a United States postage stamp.

And they just so happen to possess a redemptive measure of good !

Precedence setting, I hope the United States Postal Service creates this stamp or one like it.

I sent it to Sonny Barger. I hope he likes it.

Hell's Angels Stamp

8:49 am cst          Comments

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Blue Angels

I've always been proud of the Blue Angels.

They represent our country, the Marines and the Navy.

They were founded by Butch Voris July 21, 1946.

I created a fantasy stamp in their honor.

Maybe the United States Postal Service will make the real thing.

It's about time.

Blue Angels forever

6:35 pm cst          Comments

Friday, December 25, 2015

Bear Bryant

Bear Bryant played his last football game in Memphis on December 29, 1982. I stood on the field with him that day. My cousin, Alan (now a pediatrician) was the drum major for the Alabama marching band.

"Bear" was dead four weeks later on January 26, 1983.

I found this in a box of stamps I bought from a retired postmaster in mid-August of this year. The four stamps on the cover commemorate the 100th anniversary of intercollegiate football and were issued in 1969. "Bear" signed it for the National Association of Postmasters of the United States convention in Eufaula, Alabama on May 18, 1980.

 I didn't know that I had it until today.

It's very rare and a remarkable piece of postal history.

No others have been located.

In an arm's length transaction it's worth $2000 dollars, and very possibly much more at auction.

It's not for sale.



4:45 pm cst          Comments

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Star Wars : The Force Awakens (The Force Should Go Back to Sleep)

If you're over the age of 9 hide your face when you leave the theater.

You don't want anyone to recognize you. The clichéd movie is a two hour migraine headache.

I hope the Force goes back to sleep and never wakes up again after wasting money on this obnoxious, stupid film. I couldn't wait to leave the theater. I ended up having more fun at home making beignets and watching the Three Stooges.


It looks like a Halloween Party with cheap computer animation. Save your money !

12:27 am cst          Comments

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Memphis Is Too Warm for Santa

The temperature's close to 70 degrees and'll push close to 80 over the next couple of days. Santa's reindeer were heard panting from the Memphis heat while hovering over the city, so Santa decided to hang out on Beale Street till things let up.


7:42 am cst          Comments

Dead Meat

A rat infested, cockroach motel that operated as a butcher shop at Southern and Highland for years was finally demolished.

The university wanted that scum plagued pile of garbage shut down, and so did the health department and all of the neighbors.

Here's a squalid reminder of what's left of that crap hole....good riddance !



11:12 pm cst          Comments

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Lunch at the Arcade

There's no diner in the world like the Arcade ! I've been eating there since I came into the world.

The great Danny Honnold stopped by. We headed downtown for a great lunch and a nice visit with my friend and Arcade Restaurtant owner Harry Zapatos.  There's an old upright piano in the dining room and I managed to work in a few holiday songs for the nice crowd.

The food is fabulous at the Arcade. It's the "diner to the stars" !

When you're in Memphis put the Arcade Restaurant at the top of your "absolutely must visit" list !


2:42 pm cst          Comments

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Philatelist

Began a new excursion into video lunacy.

The Philatelist Parts I & II now on YouTube.


11:13 am cst          Comments

Friday, December 18, 2015

Handel, Poulenc, Libertas Choir, Beethoven & Honegger


George F.Handel's 1707 work Dixit Dominus (The Lord Said) based on Psalm 110 began my day. The work has been performed in hebrew but usually performed in Latin.


Now comes Francis Poulenc, Les Mamelles De Tiresia.

Les mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tiresias) is a prologue and two acts based on the play of the same title by Guillaume Apollinaire. The opera was written in 1945 and first performed in 1947.

Thérèse tires of her life as a submissive woman and becomes the male Tirésias when her breasts turn into balloons and she floats away. Her husband is ticked off by this, and even more so when she ties him up and dresses him as a woman.


Now for Herbert Von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic with Beethoven's 9th Symphony and his first recording of this work in 1947. It's fantastic !


 The Libertas Choir, from South Africa, will raise your spirits. The day brightened up nicely with Libertas under the direction of Johan de Villiers, a professor of mathematics at the University of Stellenbosch who also happens to be an outstanding choral conductor.


Finally, Arthur Honegger to end my Friday afternoon with his Pacific 231, Rugby, Pastorale d'ete' and Une Cantate de Noel (a Christmas Carol)

 Art Honegger was a Swiss composer, who was born in France and lived most of his life in Paris

What a great life ! Why would I let anything spoil the music ? God is good !

5:35 pm cst          Comments

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mozart & Gounod

Two operas define the early morning hours in the House of Saks.

Mozart's The Magic Flute


& Gounod's Mireille


The Mozart recording is from 1964 with Fritz Wunderlich as Tamino and Evelyn Lear as Pamina with the Berlin Philharmonic and director Karl Bohm.

The Gounod recording is from 1954 with Janette Vivalda as Mireille and Nicolai Gedda as Vincent with the Orchestra de la Societe'des Concerts du Conservatoire conducted by Andre' Cluytens.

Both works astounding. Click either photo for the wikis.

Off to Starbucks to meet a friend for coffee.

5:31 am cst          Comments

Monday, December 14, 2015


Louise, by composer Gustave' Charpentier is a beautiful love story about the relationship between an artist and a seamstress who lives with her parents in Paris. Louise premiered on 2 February 1900 at the Opéra-Comique conducted by André Messager in a production by Albert Carré.



Synopsis (from the Wiki)

Act 1

The Parisian home of Louise's parents

Louise has fallen in love with her neighbor, Julien. At the opening of the opera, they recall how they met. Louise's mother interrupts them and vocally expresses her disapproval of Julien. The exhausted father comes home from work and his wife and daughter implore him to quit the taxing job. However, he feels that it is his responsibility to provide for his family. At supper, he reads a letter that Julien left in which he proposed marriage to Louise. He is indifferent, but the mother is livid and, when Louise stands up for Julien, she slaps Louise across the face. The peaceful father asks his daughter to sit with him and read the paper. As she reads about springtime in Paris, she breaks down and cries.

Act 2

Scene 1: A street in Paris

It begins with a prelude that suggests dawn in Paris. The curtain rises to a bustling scene where people go about their daily routines and comment about life in general. The Noctambulist enters and calls himself the spirit of the Pleasure of Paris, and then leaves with the daughter of a ragman. Julien appears with a group of fellow bohemians to show them where Louise works. He tells them that if her parents do not consent to marriage, he will carry the girl off. Julien and his companions go off and he sings that the medley of sounds around him is the voice of Paris itself. Louise and her Mother arrive at the dressmaking store where Louise works (her mother brings her to work everyday). When the mother leaves, Julien returns. Louise tells him she loves him, but she loves her parents too much to leave them. He tries to persuade her to run off with him and she finally agrees to do so soon.

Scene 2: Inside Louise's place of work

Louise is being teased by the other seamstresses for being in love. A band is heard outside and Julien sings a serenade. The girls admire him for his looks and voice. Louise quietly slips away – to run off with Julien.

Act 3

A cottage overlooking Paris

The act opens with the opera's most well known aria, "Depuis le jour"; the lovers have moved into a cottage overlooking Paris and in the aria she sings of her happiness with her new existence and with her lover. A long love duet ensues in which they sing of their love for each other and Paris. Many Bohemians enter and crown Louise Queen of Montmartre. The Noctambulist presides as the King of the Fools. Louise's mother appears and the festivities end. She tells Louise of her father's illness and that her father creeps into Louise's room in the middle of the night, even though they agreed to regard her as dead. Even Julien is moved, and he lets Louise leave on the promise she will return whenever she wishes.

Act 4

The Parisian home of Louise's parents

The father has regained his health and spirits. He is working again, but has come to accept poverty in a philosophical way. His recovery can be attributed to the return of Louise, whom he takes into his arms and sings a lullaby. She is not comforted and longs to be with Julien again. A merry waltz is heard outside and Louise takes it up, singing madly of love and freedom. Her parents are shocked and her father becomes increasingly angry. He shouts at Louise and demands that she leave; if that is what she wants, let her go and dance and laugh! He begins to attack her, but the mother stands in the way. Louise runs from the room to go back to Julien. Only then does the father realise what he did. "Louise, Louise!" he calls. She is gone and in despair he shakes his fist at the city that stole his daughter, "Paris!" he moans and the opera closes.


Here's the opera in it's entirety for you:


The freedom to love is what the composer believed that you must understand.

I begin this day listening to Louise.

1:40 am cst          Comments


Listened to Massenet's opera Herodiade today. Another take on the story of Salome and John the Baptist but the wife of Herod the protagonist. Recorded in Paris in 1974, gargantuan orchestral and choral movements are provided by the Choers et Orchestre Lyrique de Raio-France under the direction of David Lloyd Jones. Sopranos, Muriel De Channes who portrays Salome, and Nadine Denise (in the pic), Herodiade, nail it !





Outside Herod's palace in Jerusalem, a dispute between merchants of different sects is broken up by Phanuel. Phanuel meets Salome, who has come to Jerusalem to find her mother; instead she had met, and fallen in love with, John the Baptist. As Phanuel and Salome leave, Herod, who is in love with Salome, enters. His wife, Herodiade, follows him, demanding that John be punished for insulting her. Herod knows that John is popular and tries to deter her; as they argue, John himself enters and again insults Herodiade; she and Herod flee, and Salome enters. She offers herself to John, but he rejects her and advises her to seek a more spiritual love.


In Herod's palace, Phanuel tries to convince Herod to forget about Salome, with whom he is obsessed. The two of them plan revolution, but Phanuel disagrees with Herod's plan of killing John and other holy men; he thinks they will only become martyrs. In front of his palace gates, Herod is rallying his people to revolution, but the rally is interrupted by the arrival of Vitellus, the Roman proconsul, and his soldiers. Vitellus appeases the mob by allowing the High Priest to return to the Temple of Israel. John enters, accompanied by Salome, and Vitellus, alarmed by his popularity, has the prophet arrested.


Herodiade comes to Phanuel's house to seek his help in revenging herself on her husband's rival. Examining the stars, he tells the queen that only her daughter can help her. When he tells her her daughter is Salome, however, she denies it; Phanuel sends her away. In the temple, Salome again declares her love for John and her wish to die with him. Herod plans to save John to foment rebellion among the Jews; entering, he sees Salome and declares his love for her. She rejects him, and he threatens to kill both her and her rival. The people gather for worship; the hierarchs of the temple appeal to Vitellus to condemn John for his heresy; Vitellus passes the task to Herod, as John is a Galilean. Herod questions John and is about to save him, thinking the prophet will further his plans for freedom, when Salome reveals that she loves him. Herod, enraged, condemns them both; they are seized by the temple guards.


John is praying in his cell, saying that he is not afraid to die, but he is haunted by thoughts of Salome. She enters, and they declare their love for each other. John tells Salome to save herself, but she is determined to die with him. However, the guards take John away to be killed and drag Salome off to the palace, where Herod and Vitellus are holding court. Salome begs Herod and Herodiade for John's life; just as Herod is about to give in to her, the executioner carries in his bloody sword, indicating that John has already been killed. Salome draws a dagger and tries to kill Herodiade, but the queen tells her she is her mother; in despair, Salome kills herself instead.

Enjoy it ! It's a mind blower !

Here's a link on to the entire opera on YouTube:

click Herodiade

The unbelievable Montserrat Caballe', one of Freddy Mercury's best friends, is Salome.

11:27 pm cst          Comments

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Music & The Test Bench

Along with the great music of Montserrat Caballe and Lawrence Tibbett (who George Gershwin thought was one of the best singers in the world) comes another morning of tinkering with hobby electronics. I've been programming a high-powered communications device for use with land and aviation communications. Getting everything set is a grind and amounts to more trial and error than frustration. The patience paid off and now I can think about going for a run, or at least a couple of miles on the treadmill.

I trashed a cd player after discovering that the stackable rack inside of the unit was warped and chewing up good music.

Had a peanut butter and honey sandwich on wheat bread a few minutes ago while watching the first light of the new day.

Looks like another warm day in Memphis.

Here's the happy face of my best friend !

Mister Mewsic

7:06 am cst          Comments

Friday, December 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Son !

Today is my son's birthday !

Here are a couple of pictures of my son, of whom I'm very proud of,

with his gorgeous wife, my daughter-in-law, Ann Marie,

and my adorable, beautiful grandchildren.

I love them very, very much !

Happy Birthday, Dennis !


Your Dad !

My Son & His FamilyMy Granddaughters

1:46 am cst          Comments

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tranquil Thursday

Fine morning ! Very peaceful. Having coffee and watching the great film "Pawn Sacrifice" with Toby Maguire. He's a convincing Bobby Fischer and portrays the man I remember Fischer to have been as brilliant but tragically psychotic. I remember when Fischer came to Memphis to play a simultaneous match at the Fairgrounds against a couple of dozen chess players. I think only one man pulled a draw against Fischer.

Fischer beat everyone else effortlessly. I was there that day with my dog.

I can't exactly remember, but I believe that Bobby was between 18 and 19 years old then and was the new United States champion or National Junior Chess Champion. Maybe 1961 or so. I was around 9 or 10 years old then.

I felt sorry for Bobby when he died.

I felt sorry for him before he died.

Bobby Ficher in Leipzig 1960

5:39 am cst          Comments

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Welcome to David's Blog !

The blog is new. It's early morning. How about you ?


5:39 am cst          Comments

Archive Newer       


For the next few weeks I'll be talking about the first day covers of ArtCraft along with everything else.

ArtCraft closed it's doors recently after 76 years of making philatelic history.

I'm predicting a sudden, salubrious escalation in the value of the ArtCraft cachet, all ArtCraft first day covers and ArtCraft portrait cards.
Including those connected to the Postal Commemorative Society

Their departure signals the end of an extraordinarily crucial, very important, highly significant and exceedingly meaningful period in philately

A mournful signal which will be heard around the world and lamented throughout the multitude of collectors

Leo and Sam August treasured their associations with the world's greatest philatelists

Leo's contributions to our hobby were significant enough to earn the coveted Luft Award and a place in the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame.

ArtCraft has well-earned it's place in the great chronological record in the history of philately.

Their raised ink, line-engraved intaglio printed cachets rank among the most aesthetic in the world.

ArtCraft cachets are not just beautiful.

They are works of art that showcase the wonders of the world and illuminate the powers of human creativity and ingenuity.

The Coober Pedy Cover
One of the World's Great Philatelic Rarities

Coober Pedy

Could this become la pièce de résistance de toute la modern Australian philatélie ?

Coober Pedy is a town in northern South Australia. The town is sometimes referred to as the "opal capital of the world" because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. Coober Pedy is renowned for its below-ground residences,called "dugouts", which are built in this fashion due to the scorching daytime heat. The name "Coober Pedy" comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means "white man's hole".

Opal was found in Coober Pedy on 1 February 1915; since then the town has been supplying most of the world's gem-quality opal. Coober Pedy today relies as much on tourism as the opal mining industry to provide the community with employment and sustainability. Coober Pedy has over 70 opal fields and is the largest opal mining area in the world.

Coober Pedy - no village, no buildings, no roads, just desert, mountains dotted with boulders. A bizarre lunar landscape, but for opal seekers is the most exciting place on earth, where again every day is the true challenge, happiness and luck just a shovel width apart and where life is defined by two words: winners and losers. Coober Pedy, grab your hat, throw it into the air and where it lands start digging !


Coober Pedy

 Linn's Stamp News

“The Scott Numbers are the copyrighted property of Amos Press Inc., dba Scott
Publishing Co. The marks Scott and Scott’s are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,
and are trademarks of Amos Press, Inc. dba Scott Publishing Co. No use may be
made of these marks or of material which is reprinted from a copyrighted
publication of Amos Press, Inc., without the express written permission of Amos
Press, Inc., dba Scott Publishing Co., Sidney, Ohio 45365.”


David Saks

Winner of the Coveted Memphex 2019 Marshall Trophy for "Best of Show"
Philatelic Exhibit "The Famous American Stamp Series of 1940"