Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday's Author

For many years Clayton Littlewood was the propietor of a popular London boutique called Dirty White Boy. His customers were everyone from the ordinary to the famous. In between sales, Clayton would sit in his shop window and watch the people go by on the street outside. Friends, strangers, they all caught his fancy. And he wrote about them. What started as a blog to pass the time soon became a bestselling book called, fittingly, Dirty White Boy: Tales of Soho. Now the book is a hit play and Clayton is one of its stars. Touring London and the UK, the show has been hailed as genius.

Clayton and I first became acquainted through mutual friend Arthur Wooten. I interviewed Clayton a couple of times and we became good pals. It's always a delight to get an email from him. For someone who has such a talent at sharing the lives of the people in his life I can only imagine what a thrill it must be for Clayton to see his work become so successful for the masses. Having read and reread his book, I now plan on seeing the play myself one day. I'm always delighted to share his talent.

A Bit on the Practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism

Nichiren Shoshu is the name of the denomination which follows the orthodox teachings of Buddhism as taught by Nichiren Daishonin, who made his advent in Japan in 1222. The Head Temple, Taisekiji, is at the foot of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Nichiren Shoshu has temples and centers worldwide and actively propagates the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. The practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism brings about powerful benefits and positive changes to the lives of those who practice it.

The ultimate goals are the attainment of enlightenment by the individual and, through widely spreading Buddhism, the establishment of a purified and peaceful world where all people can enjoy happy lives together.

The daily practice consists of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and reciting a chapter and a half of the Lotus Sutra, called Gongyo, to the True Object of Worship called the Gohonzon. There are six temples in the United States and many local area meeting places. All are invited to learn about Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and experience its beneficial power.

Supreme Sunday

Diana Ross & The Supremes are the most successful American vocal group of the entire rock era. With Ross, the group topped the charts 14 times. They effectively broke down the barriers present for African American entertainers before them and made it possible for cross over success on the grandest scale. The original trio, Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard, had broken up in 1967 when Ballard was dismissed from the act, and Diana Ross & The Supremes evolved with new member Cindy Birdsong.

In December 1969, just a month before Diana would leave the group for a solo career, they made the last of twenty appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show with Ross. Performing a medley of their biggest hits, they finished the set with Someday We'll Be Together, their last single release with Diana and the last #1 hit on the 1960's. Just a month later, they would perform their final show together at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. Thereafter Ross went on to solo stardom while Wilson and Birdsong regrouped with Jean Terrell as The Supremes for the 70's.

This You Tube clip is from that final Diana Ross & The Supremes appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. It's a bittersweet delight, as even the girls themselves seemed nostalgic as they performed.

This Day in History

1520: Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.

1895: The first automobile race took place, between Chicago and Waukegan, Ill.

1925: The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville made its debut on radio station WSM.

1942: Fire destroyed the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, killing nearly 500 people.

1943: President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin met in Tehran during World War II.

1958: The African nation of Chad became an autonomous republic within the French community.

1975: President Gerald R. Ford nominated federal Judge John Paul Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by William O. Douglas.

1990: Margaret Thatcher resigned after more than 11 years as prime minister of Britain.

1994: Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was killed in a Wisconsin prison by a fellow inmate.

1995: President Bill Clinton signed a bill that ended the federal 55 mph speed limit.

1999: Hsing-Hsing, a giant panda who arrived at the National Zoo in 1972 as a symbol of U.S.-China detente, was euthanized at age 28 because of deteriorating health.

2000: Lawyers for Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore argued the Florida recount before the U.S. Supreme Court.

2001: Enron Corp., once the world's largest energy trader, collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion deal to take it over.

2008: New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the right thigh with a gun tucked into his waistband at a New York City nightclub.

Sunday's Flashback

In 1972 the band Looking Glass released a single from their first album that catapulted them to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) was a different sound for Looking Glass. The band had up till then been focusing on edgier sounding rock than the mellow pop groove of Brandy. The public, ignorant of this as Looking Glass was new on the music scene, expected them to keep following the formula present in Brandy. Selling out concert halls on the power of their chart topper, fans gave their harder music a full throttle thumbs down. Shortly thereafter Looking Glass disbanded over disputes between its members about the direction their music should take after the mega hit that made them stars.

In a clip from American Bandstand, Looking Glass displays the sound that made them famous. Today the band is back together and touring on the continued popularity of Brandy. One has to wonder what they might have accomplished if they had stuck with this sound back in the day.

On an interesting side note, the popularity of the name Brandy for girls soared after this song became such a hit. According to the Social Security Administration, in 1973 the name Brandy became a top ten hit among new parents for baby girls. Bravo, boys!

Thought for Today

"Expecting altruism to win out over greed is like expecting a chipmunk crossing the tracks to derail a train." - - Dorien Grey