(2000, EMI Records)
It’s impossible to prove that the claim made by the title of this 2-CD set is accurate, but it comes close enough for me!
Played by various artists (Hungarian pianist Annie Fischer being the best known), these predominantly classical pieces range from the Andante in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C (the familiar theme from the 1967 movie Elvira Madigan) to the Minuet in G by Beethoven and Chopin nocturnes. J.S. Bach, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Satie and half a dozen other composers are also represented.
The peaceful, soothing mood evoked by these CDs is especially effective for banishing stress. The tranquil music enfolds you like a down comforter, which is what I’m frequently wrapped up in when enjoying this album.
(1979, Peter Sellers and Shirley McLaine)
My all-time favorite, Jerzy Kosinski’s screen adaptation of his 1971 book is a send-up of fatuity in American politics, television and celebrity.
Peter Sellers is the handsome but feeble-minded Chance Gardener, so named because he tends the flowerbeds of the moldering mansion where he is employed and has lived from childhood to middle age.
Isolated except for what he sees on TV and mistakes for reality, Gardener is evicted upon his elderly employer’s death and ventures into the world wearing one of the dead man’s badly dated but elegant suits. He also carries a TV remote control with which he tries to “change the channel” whenever he blunders into uncomfortable situations.
And these are many, because everything that happens to Gardener thereafter stems from peoples’ misjudgement of him based on his impressive appearance and their misinterpretation of his state of mind, which he expresses through oracular-sounding metaphors such as: “All is well—and all will be well—in the garden.”
Street toughs threaten Gardener, taking him for rich, and he escapes them only to be hit by a limousine carrying one of the wealthiest men in the U.S. The mortified mogul thinks Gardener must be eminent also, mishears his name of Chance for the upper-crust “Chauncy” and puts his palatial estate at Gardener’s disposal to recover. There Gardener is tended by his rescuer’s much younger and lovelorn wife (Shirley McLaine). She tries to seduce him, while her husband sees in Gardener a pliable and TV-genic puppet that he and other movers and shakers can maneuver into the confidence of the U.S. President as an advisor and unwitting tool of their own interests.
By the film’s end, this man with a very low IQ has gathered fame as a philosopher and is headed for the White House—propelled by people who, unlike Gardener, are not just simple, but simpleminded.
(2001, Karen Drucker)
This is the second of three collections of original and inspirational song-chants by former blues club singer Karen Drucker.
Unlike some artists in the genre of “New Thought Music,” Drucker wants you to sing along with her harmonies as well as listen to them. Singing/chanting does in fact strengthen the affirming emotions you feel when following Drucker in expressing gratitude, seeking balance, opening up to health and welcoming peace.
I often program my CD player to summon me to this potent experience first thing in the morning. Try it—it can literally make your day.
(1991, Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss)
Laughter is the best medicine, and when someone I know is very ill emotionally or physically, I send them this film. It is a wonderful farce with laugh-out-loud humor.
Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) suffers phobias too numerous to count and literally drives his psychiatrist, the uptight and snobby Dr. Lee Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), crazy, even pursuing him on his family vacation. Worse, Dr. Marvin has written a self-help book based on his therapy of Bob, but sees his Baby Steps assist Bob in making a giant leap into the media spotlight instead.
My favorite scene: Dr. Marvin gritting his teeth as Bob dines with his family and compliments Mrs. Marvin’s cooking by moaning, “Mmmm. MMmm. MMMM.” The family giggles with pleasure until the doctor snaps and starts screaming insanely at Bob.
by David Seabury
I bought this book at a garage sale. It was the best 10 cents I ever spent!
Seabury argues that acts of so-called “selflessness” have caused us more suffering over the ages than anything else we do. To counter this, he urges adoption of two principles:
If you are a “giver,” this is the book to read. It will make you take a long, hard look at yourself and your motives, but once you understand these, you may well feel liberated.
Favorite insight from the book: “Someday we shall learn the part unselfishness plays in hindering us: unselfishness as advocated in our time. We shall see its relation to the flood of mental breakdowns, trace its influence in divorce. We shall know how it drives men to crime and find it a cause of suicide. At their worst, greed and envy have not wrought such havoc.”