One Day, Ten Albums

One Day, Ten Albums

There was a Facebook activity where people would post a photo of an album they liked for a ten day period. Each day, they would tag another person to also join the event, so in a short period of time, opening Facebook was an exercise in seeing people’s favorite albums. There were no explanations, just a photo of the album cover. For baby boomers, just another homespun activity to remember the good ol’ days.

In this video, I compiled a list of ten albums, and then post in one day. I had obtained the licensing for each piece, and then straight into practice sessions to apply my piano. Here is my list:

Vincent, Don McLean, album American Pie (1971). My favorite Don McLean song by far (American Pie smashed the charts, but can be nauseating tropes) , yet Vincent stands out as one of his greatest songwriting achievements.

21st Century Schizoid Man, King Crimson, album In The Court of the Crimson King (1969). This landmark album ushered in progressive rock, culminating in jazz influences throughout the album.

Dreamin’ Again. Jim Croce. From the album The Life & Times of Jim Croce (1973). Singer/Songwriter Jim Croce had several albums in the early 70s, and a slew of top-ten hits. Sadly, his life ended in September of ’73 in a plane crash in Louisiana. Dreamin’ Again has a wonderful melody, terrific songwriting by Croce.

Stage Fright, Bob Dylan and The Band. From the album Before the Flood (1974). A tour-de-force double-live album with Bob Dylan and The Band. Dylan was booed onstage by some at the Newport (R.I) folk festival in July 1965, when he appeared (along with The Band) and electrified his acoustic folk work. Stage Fright, written by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, is sung by bassist Rick Danko.

Sam Stone, John Prine self-titled album (1971). Singer/Songwriter John Prine had a unique way of depicting normal life, and in Sam Stone, smartly illustrates the return of a Vietnam-era soldier, who turned to heroin, unable to cope with with society.

Rocket Man, Elton John, Honkey Château (1971). Incredible amount of creativity from Elton John, along with his writing partner Bernie Taupin. Honkey Château was the first number one album in his career, and he had five more number one albums in the 70s.

Hymn to Freedom, Oscar Peterson Trio, Night Train (1964). Canadian-born jazz pianist Oscar Peterson wrote Hymn to Freedom in 1962, as a result of the Civil Rights movement occurring in the U.S. Peterson was masterful in his piano technique, and performed for over sixty years.

Blues for Baby and Me, Elton John, Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player (1972). I find this John/Taupin piece to be quintessential of Elton John. The chorus is pure genius.

The Great Gates of Kiev, Pictures of an Exhibition, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1971). Recorded live in England, Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is rocked-up by ELP. Greg Lake’s lyrics provide a stunning visual for this final piece of Pictures at an Exhibition:

Come forth, from love’s fire
In the burning, all are [of our] yearning
For life to be
And in pain there will [must] be gain
New Life!

In the burning all are [of our] yearning
For life to be
There’s no end to my life
No beginning to my death:
Death is life!

Honeysuckle Honey, Country Casanova, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen (1973). Commander Cody’s claim to fame was their only top-ten hit Hot Rod Lincoln, and I like their Tex-Mex, Country-Western mix of tunes in this album. Honeysuckle Honey is the perfect song for lazy summer afternoons.

A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet by Sarah Jaquette Ray

Sarah Jaquette Ray teaches environmental studies at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. In her book “How to Keep Cool on a Warming Planet”, Ray provides a field guide for practical approaches to address climate change. Weaving layers of insight from psychology, mindfulness and social movements, the importance of staying focused on activities to cultivate resilience are key components to staying positive and healthy. This is not a book about climate change, rather, a self-help instructional resource not just for Gen X and Z’ers most affected by the changing climate, but for all other generations. (Yes, even Baby Boomers).

2018 – A Year of Extreme Weather Events

Ray’s book performs an outstanding service to many who develop powerless feelings to overcome the dire consequences of inaction. Daily news cycles are flooded with death and destruction, with climate change being a negative denominator, intense weather events worldwide capture the gloom and doom reporting of today’s mainstream outlets. (Fear sells: “If It Bleeds, It Leads”, has been the media’s longstanding motto). Ray’s guide book provides a well-founded series of tools for those in dire need of positive reinforcement and direction.

“Because climate change affects people unevenly across racial and economic lines, and because Gen Z is the most diverse generation the U.S. has ever seen, they are better able to draw connections between big oil, the wealth gap, and environmental exploitation.” – Sarah Jaquette Ray

Sarah Jaquette Ray on “A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet” (16 minutes)

New Climate Change Terminology

Ray’s book provides an array of new terminology as part of the climate change, as well as ongoing social change throughout the world. Here are a few examples:

Eco-guilt: Guilt about how race, class, gender, ability, or zip code can compound suffering.

Solastalgia – Feelings people have when their environments undergo radical change or degradation

Ecological Footprint: A task for people to understand the impacts of their consumption habits (what they eat, what they buy, how often the fly in airplanes, etc).

“A Field To Climate Anxiety: How To Keep Cool On A Warming Planet” is an excellent resource during our challenging times. The tools inherent in Sarah Jaquette Ray’s book provide concrete steps for us to take. As Ray writes: “Let us stop pretending Climate Change is merely a battle between facts and alternative facts.”

Resources for the Environment

Below are a list of resources I use about Climate Change, and to understand the latest news and be informed.

Yes Magazine – Environment:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Sunrise Movement – Green New Deal


Audio Bring It On Home

June 2016: The Gypsy Cowboys live at the Socks for Siberia Benefit, Fiskdale Ma.

On a rainy Saturday in June 2016, the Hyland Orchard in Fiskdale MA hosted the annual Socks for Siberia Benefit. A series of bands performed under the pavilion for the day-long event, which was a good thing since heavy rain came throughout the day.

In this audio clip, The Gypsy Cowboys performed Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home. Keith M. (lead vocals, bass), Gil N. (III) (guitar, vocals), Charlene N. (vocals), Gil N, (IV) (vocals, guitar), Dan L. (vocals, guitar), Jeff P. (guitar), Bob W. (percussion), Brian Podesta (keyboard). What a fun day!

Hiding in Plain Sight – The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America by Sarah Kendzior

Sarah Kendzior, a journalist and writer from St. Louis Missouri, covers a history of the past forty years of American decline and how Trump and his people in business, politics, and the media enabled and benefited from criminal activities, spanning the globe. Her book is also the story of what it’s like to live in an America dominated by a “transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government”, as Sarah puts it.  Back in August 2013, Foreign Policy named her one of “the 100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events”. 

If you want to understand where we’re going, you need to know the truth about how we got here.

Sarah Kendzior


Kendzior’s background is well suited for understanding Trump, his administration, many in the Republican party, as well devout media organizations such as Fox, OANN, Brietbart , Infowars, Sinclair Broadcasting, and others, allowing to amplify fear and hate, as well as sow divisions within American citizenry.  She has a PhD in anthropology from Washington University in Saint Louis (2012) and an MA in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University (2006). Her work focuses on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union and how the internet affects political mobilization, self-expression, and trust. Her deep knowledge of authoritarian regimes around the world. provides for a solid understanding of how the United States and other countries adopted authoritarian-style politics.

Yellow Journalism that causes harm.

Yellow, or tabloid, journalism is not new to America. Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World newspapers presented little or no legitimate well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales.

Kendzior explains how today’s media outlets are using the same tactics.

Sarah Kendzior addressing Brietbart and their negative impact to society.

“The story of Trump’s rise to power is the story of a buried US history — buried because powerful people liked it that way. It was visible without being seen, influential without being named, ubiquitous without being overt.” Sarah Kendzior, 2020.


Social media has grown exponentially during the 2010’s. So has the ability for anonymity, and the creation of automated bots to propel false and reckless information. I have witnessed some people become sucked into what I call the Trump Vortex. This vortex is a constant cycle of repeating what is fed by the likes of Fox, OANN, Brietbart and others. Critical thinking evaporates. Fear and hate is the primary achievement.

For President Obama’s two terms, tremendous progress had been made to address climate change, such as the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources, and other advancements increasing solar and wind energy, combat gender-based wage discrimination, navigated the country out of a recession, provided healthcare to 28.6 million people, and considered the most pro-LBGTQ president in history. But what lacked was addressing income equality.

However, the rich continued to get richer during the Obama administration. Trump proclaimed during the 2016 campaign “…there is more than 40% unemployment.” And while the unemployment rate was at 5%, with a degradation of full-time employment, people were forced to work multiple part-time jobs, or work via contract with no slated benefits. (And those who worked part-time jobs less than 32 hours a week received no healthcare benefits).

The America of the past will always stay in the past. As we move onward, we’re faced with a multi-pronged storm of major consequences, and this, at times, is difficult to envision a healthy future. 2020 is turning out to be a combination of three terrible years of U.S. history: 1918 – pandemic, 1933 – depression and record number of people out of work, and 1968 – riots in the streets.

“You know what solves it? When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have (chuckles), you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.” – Donald J. Trump, February 2014.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Mann’s book 1491 provides insight into how America was prior to the arrival of Europeans. Traditionally, we learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of the Christopher Columbus landing had crossed the Bering Strait twelve thousand years ago; existed in nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas was, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Mann makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last thirty years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong.

Charles C. Mann

“It is always easy for those living in the present to feel superior to those who lived in the past. Much of this world vanished after Columbus, swept away by disease and subjugation. So thorough was the erasure that within a few generations neither conqueror nor conquered knew that this world had existed.” – Charles C. Mann

Mann explores how European’s migrating to the western world brought with them communicable diseases, namely smallpox. Entire villages up and down the eastern seaboard of the now United States were completely wiped out by disease. Elizabeth Fenn, a historian at George Washington University, writes that the disaster on the northwest coast was but a small part of a continental pandemic that erupted near Boston in 1774 and cut down Indians from Mexico to Alaska.

The virus, an equal-opportunity killer, swept through the Continental Army and stopped the drive into Quebec. The American Revolution would be lost, Washington and other rebel leaders feared, if the contagion did to the colonists what it had done to the Indians. “The small Pox! The small Pox!” John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail. “What shall We do with it?” In retrospect, Fenn says, “One of George Washington’s most brilliant moves was to inoculate the army against smallpox during the Valley Forge winter of ’78.” Without inoculation smallpox could easily have given the United States back to the British. (Source: The Atlantic 2002 )

Another example of a virus wiping out entire populations in the new world is Spaniard Hernando de Soto. In 1539, he landed in the area of Tampa Bay Florida. Searching for gold, his expedition, with 200 horses, 600 soldiers, and 300 pigs, pillaged Indian villages throughout the southeast. the source of the contagion was very likely not Soto’s army but, his 300 pigs. These pigs were able to transmit their diseases to wildlife in the surrounding forest. When humans and animals live close together, they trade microbes freely. Over time new diseases are created: avian influenza becomes human influenza, bovine becomes measles. 

Excellent book by Charles Mann.

Pandemic 1918 by Catharine Arnold

The Pandemic Influenza of 1918 (January 1918 – December 1920), swept across the entire world. The pandemic was far-reaching, including those living in the Pacific islands and in the Arctic. As U.S. troops fanned out across Europe during World War I, the pandemic affected 500 million globally, and claimed 21 million lives, including over 670,000 Americans (16% of the total U.S. population in 1918). Researchers have studied the pandemic and believe the deadly virus started in the U.S., primarily at military bases such as Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas. Soldiers from France and England visited Fort Funston for training U.S. troops. The spread of the disease ignited other flare-ups, as soldiers departed the U.S. to other bases in Europe.

Here in the U.S., measures to mitigate the spread of the virus to others in some cases were not adhered to. In Philadelphia, St. Louis, and San Francisco, planned parades to boost morale during the war effort (and to get people to buy war bonds) were scheduled. Both St. Louis and San Francisco opted not to have the parade, and heeded the advice of healthcare officials to postpone the event. Philadelphia, however, decided to have the parade. The result? More than 250,000 people died in Philadelphia.

1918 Deaths, Philadelphia and St. Louis

In Boston, 202 people died on just one day—October 1. Philadelphia later topped that record, with 700 deaths in one 24-hour period. The disease wasn’t discriminatory. It devastated urban populations like Pittsburgh and New York City but also hit vulnerable rural areas like Arkansas, where the public health infrastructure was essentially nonexistent. the missteps of 1918 seem eerily prescient: A lack of leadership from Washington, with the gaps filled unevenly at the state and local levels. Public officials who either lied, dissembled or made up facts. Hucksters who used popular media to misinform the public and make a quick buck in the process. Public health infrastructure that was inadequate to the challenge. And ordinary citizens who often refused to heed the warning of experts.
CBS News: 1918 Pandemic

As in 1918, the gaps in America’s health care infrastructure are potentially deadly. Every red state governor or legislator who refused the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid reimbursement has burdened its citizens with rural and small-town hospital closures. Their communities are unprepared for this disease. Many of their citizens suffer respiratory or immunodeficiency diseases that went untreated and have rendered them more susceptible to COVID-19. The absence of universal health coverage has contributed to poorer health, generally, and will likely encourage people everywhere, in red and blue states alike, to ration health care in precisely the moment when they should not.

Media Culpability

To maintain high morale, wartime censors purposefully blocked accurate record-keeping and accurate reporting of those afflicted and deaths. The 1918 Pandemic, it is often referred to as the “Spanish Flu” since the the media in Spain were allowed to openly report about the pandemic. Spain was a neutral country in World War I. In the U.S. wartime censors worked with the media, and quickly jumped on calling it the “Spanish Flu”, perpetrating the myth of the pandemic to be race-related. The U.S. media also promoted the disease was fanned by Germany, as an attempt to use as a biological weapon against the U.S., France and England. In 2020, it is disheartening the media-barons use the Coronavirus (instead, calling it the Chinese Flu), and once again race-baiting a global pandemic to scare people. Due to the lack of leadership from the Trump administration, including careless use of the term blaming China for the virus, increases the likliehood of hate-mongering towards Asian Americans.

The biggest lesson from the 1918 pandemic is clearly, to tell the truth. People can deal with the truth, it’s the unknown that is much scarier.” -John Barry

Three Waves of the 1918 Pandemic

The first waves of the pandemic hit during March of 1918. During the following six months, the flu spread sporadically across the globe. During September through November, a second wave hit with ferocity, claiming the most deaths during the pandemic. The final wave hit in 1919, and finally subsided by that summer.

Three Waves of 1918 Pandemic.

Worldwide, countries have focused efforts for pandemic preparedness. These programs include surveillance, diagnostics, screening of passengers traveling from a potential outbreak region, quarantine procedures, stockpiling antibiotics, antivirals, bacterial and viral vaccines and the distribution of medical supplies.

Sadly in the U.S., the Trump administration started cutting funding to the Center for Disease Control in 2018, and has proposed even further cuts for FY2021, yet to be voted on by Congress.

“We have it (Corona virus outbreak) so under control”. – President Donald J. Trump February 26, 2020

Final Thoughts

Catherine Arnold’s book provides deep insight into both the worldview and the U.S. responsiveness to a global pandemic. The stresses on various aspects of normal life, decent healthcare, proactive government planning and preparedness, are all acutely examined. Since the Pandemic of 1918, does the generational loss of history dilute current practices and perceptions?

The current COVID-19 pandemic is scary, and there’s no way around it. Our current generations have never faced this type of pandemic. But, we do have recorded history to learn from. Focus on your health, well-being, and the health and well-being of others. And, wash your hands.

Interview with Bill Gates, Microsoft – May 2015

Successful Aging by Daniel J. Levitin

Daniel J. Levitin is Founding Dean of Arts & Humanities at the Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in California, and the James McGill Professor of Psychology and Music at McGill University, Montreal. He is the author of four consecutive New York Times bestselling books: This Is Your Brain On Music, The World in Six Songs, The Organized Mind, as well as the international bestseller A Field Guide to Lies; his fifth book, Successful Aging was released January 2020.

Before becoming a neuroscientist, Levitin worked as a session musician, sound engineer, and record producer, contributing to records by Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, and Blue Oyster Cult. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Billboard, and Grammy. Recent musical performances include playing guitar and saxophone with Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Rosanne Cash, David Byrne, Cris Williamson, Victor Wooten, and Rodney Crowell.

Levitin writes psychological stresses caused by life events, such as a loss of a job, divorce, caretaking for family, and deaths of loved ones, all contribute to how this can leave long-standing trauma (and a shorter lifespan) if not not resolved.

The alternative, to be active, socially engaged, and excited about life, mood-enhancing natural hormones (serotonin, dopamine) increase our immune systems and repairs at the cellular level.

Daniel Levitin interviews the Dalai Lama, 2018
Successful Aging – Well-Being Score

Levitin writes happiness has a downward trend as people reach the age of 30, and sharply increases after the age of 54. (The Well-being score). This statistic holds true for every country in the world, from Albania to Zimbabwe.

The brain has an attentional mode called the “mind wandering mode” that was only recently identified. This is when thoughts move seamlessly from one to another, often to unrelated thoughts, without you controlling where they go. This brain state acts as a neural reset button, allowing us to come back to our work with a refreshed perspective. Different people find they enter this mode in different ways: reading, a walk in nature, looking at art, meditating, and napping. A 15-minute nap can produce the equivalent of a 10-point boost in IQ. – Daniel Levitin

As someone who has experienced age-related discrimination in the workplace, I’ve had to re-tool and reset my own personal skills by learning new things, and experiencing new social environments. After years of taking part-time classes, I obtained a degree in Journalism in 2017 and have increased my skill in being a musician. Levitin’s book embraces the notion of not staying stagnant – it is critical to continue to explore new things, and push yourself to do things you want to be doing.

By combining exercise, eating healthy food (not processed, fried, over-salted, over-sugared), and expanding one’s social environment, getting 8 hours of contiguous sleep, aging gracefully is achievable.

Blowout by Rachel Maddow

Corrupted democracy, rogue state Russia, and the richest, most destructive industry on earth. This begins Rachel Maddow’s detailed book Blowout, about the oil and gas industry, and how it has corrupted countries worldwide, all to make profit, and to rule the world. The epicenter of this industry, Russia, has for many years influenced and controlled political, social-economic on their terms.

Rachel Maddow, discussing her book Blowout.

The richest and most destructive industry on earth

Around the globe, many of the key players in our politics of 2020 are also the same people involved with the gas and oil industry. Maddow provides a detailed review of this industry, and how it has evolved into propping up countries, usually in dictatorship/authoritarian form (i.e. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and several others). The one notable exception to this is the country of Norway, who have used oil and gas to further their own democratic prosperity.


Fracking, the technique in which drilling for oil and gas is not only vertically, but horizontally drilling to obtain pockets of the material, impacted beneath tight crevices. Fracking is a fairly recent method to extract fossil fuels, and with it, has released a myriad of environmental problems. Billions of gallons of water (along with sand, thickening agents, and some toxic chemicals like hydrochloric acid to boot) is used to force-out gas and oil from pockets within rock formations. This liquid is then retracted from the fracking drill site, and deposited on the soil, and in some cases, is not easily contained. This toxic mess then invades water sources, affecting livestock and people, resulting in illness and death.

Initial fracking began in the late 1960s in Colorado. The oil and gas industry, along with help of the U.S. government, started exploring areas in Colorado by using atomic energy (yes, nuclear power), to smash solid rock thousands of feet below the surface of the earth. All in an effort to find fossil fuels. One byproduct, potentially harmful levels of radiation (radioiodine) seeped into fresh milk supplies in Utah. (gulp). This effort was abandoned in 1973, after multiple explosions did not yield the expected fossil fuel.


In the late 2000’s, the state of Oklahoma began an interesting phenomenon. Earthquake events, normally non-existent, spiked to overtake the number of earthquakes in the state of California. The west coast of California lies on the Ring of Fire, an active plate shift naturally causing hundreds of earthquakes each year. However, the oil and gas industry literally owned the state’s legislature in Oklahoma, as representatives sided with these industry execs to roll back safety and environmental regulations for fracking. Researchers at Oklahoma University determined fracking to be causing the tremors in Oklahoma. However, OU’s leadership was compromised by oil/gas industry. The dean of OU was paid more than $350K to sit on the company board. (Doubling his salary from OU). Any research confirming fracking to be the cause of earthquakes was suppressed.

They also sucked the revenue coffers dry for Oklahoma. Unlike other oil/gas industry states such as North Dakota, they aligned oil/gas revenue taxes on these companies to fill state buckets. But Oklahoma, taxes for the gas/oil companies were greatly reduced. Billions of dollars were pocketed by the oil/gas outfits, and a pittance provided to the state of Oklahoma. The back-room, sweetheart deals for the oil/gas fat cats were well greased by the slimy Oklahoma politicians.

Funny thing is, the lack of funding to the state of Oklahoma resulted in grave consequences. Lack of money for road and bridge repair, and extreme cuts to public school systems forced citizens to rise up and protest. Schoolteachers took the lead to overturn prior legislation, and tax the oil/gas companies to restore funding. These super-heroes have shown the power in citizen protest to enforce positive change.

“Democracy either wins this one or disappears.” – Rachel Maddow

Environmental Disaster

Maddow covers the major environmental disasters of the Exxon-Mobile oil spill in Alaska in March 1989 and the BP oil spill (Deepwater Horizon) in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. Both major environmental disasters shown a spotlight on these companies’ ineffectiveness at containing these catastrophic spills. The most effective containment system once an oil spill occurs is using material found in baby diapers inserted into the boons surrounding the spill. The ineptness of these multi dollar companies to first provide technology to prevent spills, and then have technology and systems in place to contain a spill is an eye-opener. Gas/Oil industry leaders, like Rex Tillerson of Exxon-Mobile belong in jail for their abysmal track record of harming the planet.

The Future

Maddow surmises the only way to confront the assault of oil/gas industries taking over duly elected democracies is to aggressively contain oil/gas companies. Strict regulations for safety and environmental protections are required. Citizens must hold their elected representatives accountable to ensure regulations are upheld, and stiff penalties are applied if such regulations are not adhered to. These companies are massive in their size and wealth. It will take millions of people worldwide, similar to what we are starting to see with the younger generations’ protests for taking action on climate change. As Maddow writes: “Democracy either wins this one or disappears.”

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker PhD

As a sleep scientist for over 30 years, Matthew Walker’s excellent book Why We Sleep is an in-depth review of the purposefulness of sleep, and the dangers when we do not get adequate sleep. Walker writes, when a person gets less than 7-9 hours of sleep per night, the human body actually breaks down in a variety of ways. The immune system is compromised, enabling colds and viruses to do their thing. Reparations of injuries are also impacted negatively. Simply put, a lack of sleep takes the body longer to recover from illness and injury, and ultimately shortens one’s lifespan.

Sleep deficits cannot be made up, and sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t help. Lack of sleep contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, mental illness, diabetes, and cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization categorizes night shift work as a probable carcinogen. Drowsy driving is more common than drunk driving and even more dangerous. We are harming teens by forcing them to wake up and go to high school at an hour so damaging to the circadian rhythm of that age group.

Matthew Walker, PhD

“After thirty years of intensive research, we can now answer many of the questions posed earlier. The recycle rate of a human being is around sixteen hours. After sixteen hours of being awake, the brain begins to fail. Humans need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance. After ten days of just seven hours of sleep, the brain is as dysfunctional as it would be after going without sleep for twenty-four hours. Three full nights of recovery sleep (i.e., more nights than a weekend) are insufficient to restore performance back to normal levels after a week of short sleeping. Finally, the human mind cannot accurately sense how sleep-deprived it is when sleep-deprived.”

― Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Walker believes sleep is the platform on which diet and exercise rest. Getting 7–9 hours of sleep a night is not some luxury to aim for, but an absolute essential for the brain to process new information and prepare for receiving more the next day.

Matthew Walker, PhD

“Humans are not sleeping the way nature intended. The number of sleep bouts, the duration of sleep, and when sleep occurs has all been comprehensively distorted by modernity.” – Matthew Walker

John Candy – Laughing on the Outside by Martin Knelman

The 1997 book from Martin Knelman explores John Candy’s life growing up in Canada, and gaining fame as a comedic actor in both Canada and the U.S. Candy, who struggled with weight his entire life, fought off his demons by diving into the acting realm.

Candy was most generous to people he met along the way, and was adored by his fellow actors. Along with hockey great Wayne Gretzky, he became part-owner of the Toronto Argonauts, a Canadian league football team. They reached the title in 1991, capturing the Grey Cup for the best team in the CFL.  He bounced around Toronto with a group of other up-and-coming comics including Gilda Radner and Dan Ackroyd. In 1976 SCTV, a television comedy series spoofing television networks was born starring Candy, among other comedic stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Rick Moranis.

John Candy, age 18, visiting Niagara Falls 1969 Source: 41 strange (Twitter)

During his career, Candy appeared in more than 40 films in Canada and the U.S. His breakthrough U.S . film, 1941 was directed by Stephen Spielberg and released in 1979. The 1980s brought a string of hits for Candy, Stripes, the animated film Heavy Metal (where he voiced two different characters), The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Splash, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and Uncle Buck.

With Candy’s root comedic talents, he could also pull off dramatic roles, such as the shady lawyer in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK.

“I think I may have become an actor to hide from myself. You can escape into a character.” -John Candy

During the 1990s, Candy’s career suffered through several unfunny box-office flops. He was able to strike gold, in the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings, loosely based upon the Jamaican bobsled team competing at the 1988 Winter Olympic games in Calgary, Alberta, Candy played coach Irv Blitzer, and was able to direct the Jamaican athletes to qualify for the games.

Cool Runnings – Walt Disney co.

Sadly, John Candy died March 4, 1994 in Durango, Mexico at age 43 from a massive heart attack. He was in process of making the film Wagons East with Richard Lewis. The movie script had to be re-written, a stand-in and special effects were used to complete his remaining scenes. The film was released five months after his death.

Second City cast members outside the Old Firehall theater in Toronto. (Clockwise from bottom-left): Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Dan Aykroyd, Catherine O’Hara, and John Candy. (