Posts tagged with Kansas
It's spring - and this is the time for Happiness
The equinox - the first day of spring - was at 11:57 A.M., March 20th, 2014.
Pharrell Williams has created a song which deserves to be played around the world. It almost won an Academy Award this year. Cities and countries have created their own versions, which are fascinating to watch.
Most of these are sung and danced below. Pharrell deserves tremendous credit for what he has done. I would give him a Nobel Prize for peace, music, and dance.
Through dance and song a new, worldly environment is created
Through dance, music, and song, he has created a new environment in which the entire world can participate. And they are doing so. To date at least 59 countries and cities have now responded with their own versions of "Happy" through dance and song, and they are also included below.
Happy was first released on November 21, 2013 at the same time that a 24 hour music video was also released. You can sing and dance to any part of the 24 hour video, which also appears below. Never before has a video that has lasted for 24 hours been attempted, and frankly it is a great success.
Happy has been highly successful, at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also charts in 15 other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom. In Great Britain it has sold 1 million copies, topping the charts for three million-selling singles (and he is only one of three artists who have ever had 3 million singles, the others being The Beatles and Rihanna.
Pharrell Williams wrote the song, and it was recorded at Circle House Studios in Miami, Florida.
The original song plays for 3 minutes and 53 seconds. It is in the key of F minor. The 24 hour video can be accessed at any point during the video.
"Because I'm happy, clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth," Williams says as he sings. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Stunning originality throughout the world
What is particularly stunning about this song is the number of completely original versions which have been made in cities and countries throughout the world - and new ones are being added each week. This is not a matter of corporate sponsorship, or governmental activfity; rather, it is groups of people in each city acting on their own, because they like the song. This may be the first time in history that groups in cities and countries around the world have created their own versions of the same song.
After school center
At the present time, Williams is creating a $35 million afterschool center in Virginia Beach, his hometown. He also started a charity, "From One Hand To Another," which is working with at-risk communities throughout the United States.
He is very much into the science fiction series Star Trek - his label name is "Star Trak", and he thinks highly of Carl Sagan, the late astronomer and science lecturer. His wife is Helen Lasichanh, and he has a son named Rocket Man Williams. There is a long interview with him in GQ Style (Autumn/Winter 2013), in which he describes his religious point of view: "On paper I'm a Christian, but really I'm a Universalist."
A Wonderful Creative Work for Teachers
Because so many cities from around the world have responded with their own versions of Happy, the opportunity for teachers is incredible. Very few projects have this kind of distribution around the globe. Each set of students could pick a city, and prepare a presentation on it along with the video for that city. This would work well for grade school students through college. It is a tremendous opportunity in world education, involving geography, dance, and music, which should not be missed.
Some schools might like to team up with other schools, or the entire city, to present their own video. Students who live on the farm have a very special opportunity to involve animals and farm life for people in cities who have never experienced a farm.
Pharrell Williams in GQ on Happy
Pharrell Williams is very clear in this interview about what he likes most about Happy:
This is a new version from Kiev, Ukraine. The video reflects the reality that Ukranians are facing right now. It first begins in a very light hearted way, but then switches to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square in Kiev) and has a very different feeling.
Here's the original song, which lasts for 3 minutes and 53 seconds.
The First 24 Hour Video of *Happy*
Here is the 24 hour version. You can access this at any point during the 24 hours.
Around the world with Happy
Now, let's go around the world with Happy. It is a fascinating look at many of the world's cultures and different ways of doing things.
Milwaukee Panthers Basketball team
Can you imagine the Jayhawks, Shockers and Wildcats each doing a version? That would be incredible.
Another video from Bamako, Mali
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Another video from Cameroon
Ouagadougou, Burkino Faso
Cape Town, Africa
Another video from Cape Town
Queen Latifah show
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
London, United Kingdom
Moscow, Soviet Union
El Paso, Texas
Berlin dance edition, Germany
Teatro Marrakech, Morocco
Hong Kong dance edition
Prague, Czech Republic
Another video from Craiova
Yet another video from Craiova, Romania
Ramnicu Valcea, Romania
Hanoi Flea Market, Vietnam
Rio de Janeiro Carnival Edition
Another version from Craiova, Romania
Rio de Janeiro
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
French flashmob kids
Washington, DC (one org)
San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
Clug Napoca, Romania
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Alba Lulia, Romania
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Norwegian Cruise Line
Clark Atlanta University, Georgia, USA
Truman State University, Missouri, USA
Olympic Coastal Village Ice Skaters and Friends (Sochi, Russia)
La Antigua, Guatemala
Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
St. Jude's, Tanzania
Seoul, South Korea
Napa and Sonoma Counties, Caifornia
Trisomie 21 Tunisia
The Graduate Institute, Geneva
High Tatras, Slovakia
Suceava, Romania (capital of Moldova in 1338 to 1565)
Muenster, Germany, dance edition
Tel Aviv, Kino Kitchen Studio
Santiago de Chile
Mexico City, Mexico
Richmond, Virginia, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
World Down Syndrome Day
UN World Day of International Happiness - Pharrell Williams
Morocco, Hit Radio
University of California, Irvine, California, USA
Making of Happy Split
El Jadida, Morocco
Happy from GLEE
TSNB Church, Cincinatti, Ohio
North Carolina Central University, North Carolina, USA
Amundsen High School, Chicago, Illinois
The Making of Happy - Split, Croatia
Les Roches Bluche, Swiss Alps
Hip Hop Class
With the words, so you can sing along, in English and Portuguese
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony
I am also going to ask Michael Tilson Thomas, whose 70th birthday is this year, if he would like to perform and perhaps write a symphonic variation on "Happy" for symphony orchestra, with dance, to be performed in San Francisco this fall. It may also be performed and written by other symphony orchestras in other parts of the world, just as the popular song has generated many new performances in many countries.
Now, for Kansas: a contest for spring, summer and fall
I would like to make the following proposal. Every state that shows an interest makes their own video during the spring, summer and fall months of 2014, taking into account all areas of the state. Kansas could be a great lead for this. Nowhere in the current videos, for example, do I see people dancing among sunflowers, or the prairies and plains. There is no dancing before corn husks or farm machinery. It's all cities. For Kansas, the video could include all the different aspects of the Kansas countryside, as well as the cities.
The Jayhawks, Shockers and Wildcats
And think what would happen if the Jayhawks, Shockers or Wildcats had won March Madness this year! Even though they didn't win, all three teams and cities - Lawrence, Manhattan and Wichita - should take part in one or more videos. This would enable the Jayhawks to have continued fame for their excellent work long after the games themselves are past.
Contact me if you are interested in this project
Contact me if you have an interest in this video project in the coming months, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a great way to begin Spring!
No. 29-Sunset bus driver changes the day for many people in San Francisco
Mike Kepka has done a wonderful job writing this blog, especially with the accompanying video. I personally have taken this bus, the No. 29 bus, as the driver, Charles Davis, was driving it down Sunset Boulevard towards Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
I took this bus because my car had just been stolen - a common occurrence in San Francisco these days (and it's just been located, but I haven't had a chance to see it yet and to find out if it still runs).
I'm wondering - does any bus driver in Kansas sing, or have other special talents which really put a smile on people's faces?
And - Is there some way in which certain buses in Lawrence could be enjoyed as special, unique buses-places to have a ride just because of what the bus features?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
If you read this article and watch the video, I guarantee that you, too, will have a much better day!
And - today I just found another bus driver who also sings, but in New York City. He sings arias!
Amos Lawrence Park
Building on the best of the past, yet looking towards the future
The former Farmland Industries fertilizer plant is now being made into a business park. I think it needs a new name and - equally important - a new vision. A much better name than those which have been proposed for this park would be "Amos Lawrence Park."
It's time to have a vision for this park which would incorporate the city's possibilities and that of surrounding cities as well. The vision needs to incorporate what this park could become in conjunction with other parts of Lawrence and Douglas County.
Pedestrian / bicycling trail and a place for gathering
A pedestrian/bicycling trail should lead from the park to downtown Lawrence and to the circular path around the university. This could be adjacent to the 19th Street entrance but should be separate, and not part of, the roadway. There should also be a trail leading from the park to Baldwin City and Ottawa, and eventually to Eudora, DeSoto and Kansas City. All of these trails would be landscaped with Kansas plants, and would be part of the Douglas County and Johnson County trail and park systems.
There should be places to sit and to have coffee, tea or a meal. Trees and flowers throughout the park would be a welcome break from the summer's sun. Some of these things are shown on the master plan but not in detail, and not extending beyond the park itself.
Healthy food would be provided so that persons, and visitors, could have lunch there. In addition to take-out foods, there is a strong possibility that a Whole Foods or Trader Joes would work well in the park. Whole Foods, for example, is now building smaller stores with a live sandwich, meats and seafood department.
Could there be anything better than not only to have your food at the park, but also to be able to come on your bike or in the car to Whole Foods, for example, for your grocery shopping. In the spring, summer and fall you could come via the path on bicycle or as a pedestrian to the park. If you are on the way to work in Kansas City, or coming to Lawrence to enjoy yourself, you could stop off at Amos Lawrence Park to get provisions for your evening meal or an afternoon outing. This would mean you wouldn't have to make an extra trip for groceries later, but could instead enjoy yourself at home or outside in good weather.
Dillon's at 17th and Massachusetts St. should also be complimented for having made a strong investment in a part of town which before did not have a good grocery store. It is a good example of a company reinvesting in local businesses by completely remodeling the store, making it very up to date.
The trail and bus route should lead past Dillons to downtown, to the new library and then to the university. With this kind of public transportation, many people won't need to drive their cars to work - they can take the bike, walk, or ride the bus much of the year.
Several important things
This would symbolize several important things.
First, the name of the park itself. By naming the park the "Amos Lawrence Park," it shows the connection Lawrence has to the early east coast of the United States, at which time the nation had really just begun its long journey forward.
There would be a link to Lawrence, Massachusetts - another town also named by Amos Lawrence - which I think would be very important for this park, so that links between Lawrence and the east coast are well understood. Street names and place names (for gatherings, coffee, a meal) should be chosen based on the creative energies of the first people in Lawrence - from businessmen to teachers, homemakers to farmers and builders.
The path from the park to downtown, to Baldwin City, Ottawa, Eudora and DeSoto - and eventually Kansas City - offers ideal places in these towns for start ups. Many companies would prefer that their people work in smaller places, which are quiet - such as Baldwin City. They could get a lot more done than driving on 101 in the Bay Area for one to two hours each way even before they get started for the day.
All of these places would be linked by fiber cables - and the time to put them in is now, when 19th St. is ready to join Amos Lawrence Park - not later. This would make it clear that all parts of the city are linked together, not just some companies and organizations. All paths would be lit by LED lights at night.
Actually, fiber cables should be accessed by all businesses, so that people would get to know one another, as well as citizens from all of Douglas County, Franklin County and Kansas City. In Silicon Valley, for instance, many companies, as a result of such meetings, now share skills, talent and overlapping products. New companies locate in Silicon Valley just as a result of these meetings. The same thing could take place in Lawrence. Outdoor and indoor meetings should take place at least once every week.
The contributions of all Lawrence citizens should also be shown. By their being able to visit the park, both via the path, bus and by car, it would take on much more energy than by simply being a business park, of which there are already plenty in all parts of the United States, including Silicon Valley - where many business buildings and parks have plenty of buildings which remain empty. Much more is needed besides buildings and concrete if a space is going to become an idea-generation location.
Building on the best of the past, yet looking towards the future
"Building on the best of the past, yet looking towards the future." Both need to be incorporated into this park, and the surrounding pathways. It must, for example, include nature: Kansas is a very important part of the prairie and plains ecosystem. There should be plants, flowers and trees which reflect this aspect of life in Lawrence, available for all to see, including major landscaping all along the trial. This landscaping should under no circumstances be ignored. This should not be a park with no connection to the land. There should also be a fountain or fountains throughout the park, so that families and single persons would enjoy being there on the weekends as well as during the week.
And there should be the amenities that companies seek in Silicon Valley - basketball courts, for example, so that people who take breaks could have fun, and again, meet more people.
City College of Lawrence
There would also eventually need to be a City College of Lawrence, modeled to some extent on the City College of San Francisco as well as other signficant community colleges. The City College of San Francisco has 85,000 students of all ages - from those who are learning English, to people working towards an associate degree, to seniors who are catching up on areas they never had time for eariier in life.
And this, again, needs to be an attractive area so that people can meet each other and enjoy themselves - preferably outside in good weather. You never know who will meet each other - and perhaps have just the right idea for a new company. Steve Jobs quit the university because he felt he had better things to do with his time. You don't always need a university education to make things happen - and you can go back later when you have additional time and when you have explored life first.
City College of Lawrence should be linked not only with KU, but with Kansas State, Baker University, Ottawa University, and other similar colleges. We need an organization which will serve all people, at many different stages in their life.
Attractive signs in each city should point prominently to each educational institution in that city. There should be no doubt about it: Kansas is about education, at many different times throughout life!
Also, by putting a City College of Lawrence at Amos Lawrence Park, people from surrounding communities could be served at this location or in small branch colleges around town, each with a small library, computer space, and paying of bills without extra fees. These could be empty storefronts or small houses in various parts of the city.
The result will be a city of energy and innovation
What would eventually result would be a city of energy, excitement and innovation. This is the kind of city that companies want to relocate to, and that people of all ages - including seniors - would want to take part in. It would be an ideal energetic business community, including a City College for future growth at any time, and an ideal senior retirement location.
If this park is to mean anything in the future, it must have vitality, energy and innovation. The "Amos Lawrence Park" has all of these things and it would be a source destination for businesses of all kinds - not just "venture" businesses.
It would also be a break from much of what is taught at KU, which is too often just rote repeating of what the student thinks the teacher will want, instead of genuine creativity. (And I am a KU graduate; I have experienced that many times myself.)
There could be a strong set of courses - from 1 week to several months - with online classes combined with students working with one another - and many of these online classes are free.
And obviously the groundbreaking TED lectures.
Creative energy is what companies are looking for in the future. Lawrence, by naming this park "Amos Lawrence Park," meets these goals when they are combined with a city that people want to come to and live in for the rest of their lives.
These are two events that Lawrence can't miss next year
St. Stupid's Day Parade
St. Stupid's Day took place in San Francisco on April 1, 2013. I remember the first year I was in San Francisco. I was very poor, and I was sitting in a coffeehouse downtown, and all of a sudden St. Stupid's Parade passed the window. I couldn't believe what was passing by outside. I left my chair and went outside, and the parade was tremendous.
But when I got back inside to my chair, I found that my coat had gone, which I had just purchased the previous week - an unfortunate negative side to living in a large city.
But I've enjoyed the parade each year very much.
Can't you imagine what Lawrence could do with this parade, on April 1st of each year?
Take a look at the following pictures:
On Easter Sunday, there's also the Bring your Own Big Wheel race/demolition derby
There are more than 1500 contestants, dressed in everything from the Easter Bunny to astronauts. They all sit on plastic tricycles, or some version thereof, and head down the street past thousands of spectators. In San Francisco, Vermont Street on Potrero Hill is very steep. But the event would be just as much fun without the steep street.
These are two events that Lawrence absolutely needs to take part in!
Money for schools when California became a state ... what about Kansas?
I just saw this article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
This is fascinating. But I can't find any information on where the money for Kansas schools went when Kansas became a state.
Can someone find out more information on this? I'm sure a lot of Kansans would like to know.
The Queen's Jubilee Pageant - Part 2
Day 4 - Tuesday
Tuesday is the final day of the Queen's Jubilee concert. The Queen attends services at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. All the choir kids are getting ready:
Following that, she appears on the balcony and enjoys a flypast.
What do the French think of all this?
Finally, she gives her farewell address to the nation, and the four days of the Diamond Jubilee are over!
Last of all, you have to see this high-definition picture of London which the BBC just put up this afternoon:
Day 3 - Monday
This special concert took place today at 1:30 our time. Shirley Bassey, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J., JLS, Elton John, Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Ed Sheeran, were all in this concert. And the Queen was there!
Here are some of the performers being interviewed before the concert today:
And Sir Cliff Richard who was there for all sixty years:
They've done an incredible job with the stage. Here's an interview with Keith Lockhart, who will be conducting, as well as a photograph of the stage.
And here are pictures of the concert:
After the concert, beacons were lit around the world. These beacons were lit In most of the Commonwealth countries, and in other countries too, like the United States. The Queen lit the National Beacon at 20:30 British Summer Time, directly following the concert.
The beacons come from British history: These beacons constitute 1900 years of history.
Look at the interactive map with beacons from throughout the world::
Day 2 - Sunday
Here is a detailed background on Day 2 of the four day Jubilee pageant.
The Queen's Barge makes its way along the River Thames:
Whether or not you've been to London, England, you will enjoy these pictures.
Despite the weather, people thronged by the thousands to the River Thames to watch the pageant and flotilla.
The Thames River Barrier was lowered so that the river would flow slower.
The Thames River Barrier has been described as the eighth wonder of the world. It is one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world. It has ten steel gates that can be raised into position across the Thames River. When raised, the main gates stand as high as a five-story building and as wide as the opening of Tower Bridge. Each main gate weights 3,300 tons. You should see this if you are in London in the future.
To return to the events of Day 2, 20,000 people were expected to be on the floats of the flotilla, which travelled at 4 knots (4.6 miles) an hour. There were also lunches (such as the "Big Lunch" in London) and parties throughout Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
Of special interest is the Queen's barge, which was designed to show what the highly decorated royal barges were like in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The man-powered boats, led by the Queen's row barge "Gloriana," were the first to pass the finish line.
Pictures were pouring in from around the world, including Dubai, Canada, China, France, Australia, Germany, Tuvalu and New Zealand.
and of course from the UK:
with Jubilee related stories:
This is a very good essay with many sides of the British character:
By the way, I sent a picture into the BBC from the Journal-World's article on the Queen's Jubilee in Lawrence yesterday. If other people took pictures of the Lawrence event, or parties, they should also send them to the BBC at email@example.com
There are pictures from Craig Patterson and Staci Garman of the Jubilee Diamond event in Lawrence below.
To me, it's an incredible event when a town like Lawrence, Kansas, can have its own Jubilee celebration!
And here is an article, of which there are many, from Canada:
Here is another excellent article from Perth, Australia:
And here is the celebration in Grenada:
This shows that the British Commonwealth still is liked tremendously in many parts of the world, including British-speaking Africa and the Caribbean..
The first part of my blog is at:
It is full of useful information and photographs! Share it with your kids!
Now, here is the Lawrence event!
Here are some great pictures of the Lawrence Diamond Jubilee event, taken by Craig Patterson and Staci Garman.
Here are Craig's pictures:
and here are Staci's pictures:
The 60th Jubilee Concert - Around the World
Whether or not you are a fan of the royalty of Great Britain, this is a special weekend for both British and non-British fans from around the world. There is much to experience every day.
From street parties to horse racing (the English really love horse racing), today's Derby was the big event:
Here are pictures from Saturday, June 2, 2012, Day 1:
Two years of preparations took place for this year's Jubilee:
If you have or haven't been to London, this is a great chance just to enjoy the scenery. It is also an incredibly great pageant, which only the British can put on.
The music for the pageant has been put together by ten composers, all inspired by Handel's Water Music. By the way, according to the BBC, Tutankhamen's trumpet (from the time of the ancient Egyptians) is the oldest royal instrument.
And here is a history of royal pageantry in London.
Some of the following footage is shown for the first time:
And here is the changing face of the Queen over the years:
I am very impressed that Lawrence has joined the 60th Jubilee with its own set of events. No matter what it is that you like that is British, whether it is the wonderful TV comedies (Faulty Towers, Dad's Army), the cars (there will be a display in Lawrence), Shakespeare, or the trails for hiking throughout Great Britain, this is your weekend.
Please share your pictures of Lawrence during today's festival, and also your thoughts and pictures if you have made trips to Great Britain, things that you are currently studying about Britain, or if you are British--let us know what you like best about your country.
I must admit that I like many things about Great Britain very much, especially the people.
For students and people who do not know the national anthem of Great Britain, please see the following:
This would be a great project for students to write about over the summer - some aspect of British history.
I will be updating this blog throughout the next four days of the Jubilee.
I would also like to hear from students and residents of other countries, as well. As time permits, in the future I will also do a blog on other cultures and countries.
Please write in your comments, pictures and good experiences.
Cities have been undergoing new developments in the past several years. In particular, there are now car companies which allow for a person to rent cars for only an hour or two. The same thing is true with bicycles.
in Paris. for example, bicycles can be picked up or driven to more than 1,200 bicycle stations throughout the city at very low cost. London also has a bicycle system, with drop off or pick up at 400 "docked stations" spread over the city, as does Montreal.
The newest thing is scooters. If San Francisco has it way, Scooters will also be available for short periods of time.
All this, if the DMV and Insurance Companies go along with it, is a very good thing.
Insurance companies must be making changes, because there are lots of cars available for 1 hour or 6 hours, at not a large cost.
The possibilities for a city like Lawrence to have scooters, bicycles and cars available only as needed will make the city much more liveable than ever before. For at least half of the year, many students and residents could forgo cars altogether, and use the scooters and bicycles instead. It's a liberation which, at first thought, is hard to believe.
A wonderful Kansas video has been made about riding a bicycle. It's in another post on Well Commons:
And may I suggest another post, from a larger city, which also has an extremely active bicycle program:
And here's the new yike bike:
But drivers have to be constantly alert for scooters, bikes and pedestrians
Drivers, however, have to be much more careful to watch out for bicycles and especially for scooters and pedestrians. There need to be changes made in the roadways themselves, as well as driving habits, if these possibilities - and a better Lawrence as a result - are to be successful.
Pathways have to be created for bicyclists on major streets, or the next street over to a major street, so that bicyclists feel safe.
Major signs should be put up for bicycle and scooter routes:
There are also problems which need to be solved, including theft of bicycles. Many cities are working on this.
And - all motorists, bicyclsts and scooters need to know the rules of the road, quite possibly in more detail than before:
Pedestrians (and bicyclists) need more paths to walk and ride on
There needs to be more pedestrian walkways, especially along the river and between towns - Baldwin City, Lawrence and Ottawa being a good example. The result would be an influx of tourists from out of town - making northeast Kansas a place to come for bicycling, scooters, and walking.
A Different Approach to Car Insurance
At the same time, there needs also to be a different approach to car insurance. Car insurance companies won't like this, but it's happening in other cities, and sooner - not later - it needs to happen in Kansas, too, especially for cars and scooters. This may require legislation to enact.
Maybe the worst problem is road rage
I drive a car myself, as well as walking and riding bicycles. So there is a tremendous problem of road rage. Many of the streets in older cities, especially, just aren't wide enough. Motorists - and officials - need to work on making road rage accessible and to be talked about, especially when scooters and bicyclists become even more popular.
Everyone has to give some things, including time. Bosses can't always be sure their employees will arrive right on time. In general, motorists have to much more careful and attentive, at all times. Opening the car door once at the wrong time could cause a terrible bike crash.
This could be a different town to live in
But - if we put these new rules into effect, this could be an entirely different city to live in, in the future. The climate is perfect for long distance riding and scootering - eventually going clear across the state. People will have much more to do on weekends. Many new businesses eventually be created. People won't have to have cars for at least one half the year - they can rent scooters or cars, or take bicycles to work. There are also fold-up bicycles which can be put in cars and used for shorter distances to and from the car.
This will also help innovation, and bring new firms to the city. Much high tech work is careful attention to detail. When people are off work, people need to ride their scooters or bicycles to relieve tension and enjoy themselves, to achieve balance in their lives.
Lawrence has a good start in this area. We have some great parks and the downtown is first rate, especially when there are more places for bicycles and scooters.
All of Kansas - not just Lawrence - has possibilities, once you have a different mindset about things. But Lawrence would be a good place to start things on a serious note, to make streets and the whole town liveable for all kinds of people