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Gary Freedman's Blog (185)

Theme and Variations: Etosha National Park and Schizoid States

Years ago I saw a documentary, "The Living Edens," broadcast on public television about Etosha National Park in Namibia, in Africa. I was enthralled by the show. Africa's Etosha is a vast and ancient land of seasonal paradox. During the blooming of the wet season, spring boks, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, zebras and giraffe thrive. It is also an Eden that slowly disappears when heat, drought and thirst put all life at risk, except for the opportunistic vultures.…


Added by Gary Freedman on February 27, 2010 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

The Hundredth Anniversary

John Galsworthy's "Justice," premiered in London exactly 100 years ago today, February 21, 1910.

Added by Gary Freedman on February 21, 2010 at 11:00am — No Comments

Was Jan Sibelius a First Rate Composer?

There is so much of Sibelius that I love. He certainly made a unique contribution to music. There's no mistaking the "Sibelius Sound."

But was he a first rate composer? I don't know.

I love the Fifth Symphony. I first heard it while I was in my third year of college, when I was 19 years…


Added by Gary Freedman on February 16, 2010 at 6:00am — 3 Comments

Famous Half-Vulcans: Spock

Spock is the son of Vulcan ambassador Sarek and human Amanda Grayson. The relationship between Spock and Sarek often is turbulent, although rooted in an underlying respect and carefully restrained love for each other. Their falling out began when Spock declined an offer to study at the prestigious Vulcan Science Academy and instead joined Starfleet against his father's wishes. Spock served on the USS Enterprise for eleven years under the command of Captain Christopher Pike and continues to… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on January 2, 2010 at 9:00am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Hugo Laurenz August Hofmann von Hofmannsthal (February 1, 1874 – July 15, 1929), was an Austrian novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist. Hofmannsthal was born in Landstraße, Vienna, the son of an upper-class Austrian mother and an Austrian–Italian bank manager. His great-grandfather, Isaak Löw Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal, from whom his family inherited the noble title "Edler von Hofmannsthal," was a Jewish merchant ennobled by the Austrian emperor. He began to…


Added by Gary Freedman on January 2, 2010 at 9:00am — No Comments

My Favorite Holiday Song



Added by Gary Freedman on December 21, 2009 at 9:30am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Kevin Kline

Kevin Delaney Kline (born October 24, 1947) is an American theatre and film actor. He has won one Academy Award, two Tony Awards and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2009.

Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Peggy and Robert Kline. Robert was a classical music lover and an amateur opera singer who owned and operated The Record Bar, a record store in St. Louis that opened in the early 40s, and also sold toys during the 60s and 70s. Kline's father was an agnostic of… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 18, 2009 at 9:30am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus (born January 13, 1961) is an American actress and comedian best known for her role as Elaine Benes on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, and her current role as the titular Christine Campbell on the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Louis-Dreyfus was born in New York City, to Judith, a writer and special-needs tutor, and Gérard Louis-Dreyfus (also known as William Louis-Dreyfus), a French attorney and business executive. Her paternal… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 17, 2009 at 10:08am — No Comments

Happy Birthday, Ludwig van Beethoven!

Today, December 16th, is Beethoven's birthday. The old guy would have been 237 years old today.


Happy Birthday, Ludwig!

Added by Gary Freedman on December 16, 2009 at 10:14am — 1 Comment

Famous Half-Jews: Matt Lauer

Matthew Todd "Matt" Lauer (born December 30, 1957)[2] is an American television journalist best known as the host of NBC's The Today Show since 1997. He was previously a news anchor in New York[3] and a local talk-show host in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. He was also host of PM Magazine (or "Evening Magazine" 1980-1986) and worked for ESPN in the 1980s as a sideline reporter. In the early 1990s, Lauer hosted segments of HBO Entertainment News.

He was born in New… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 16, 2009 at 10:08am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Courtney Love

Courtney Michelle Love (born Courtney Michelle Harrison on July 9, 1964) is an American rock musician and actress. Love is known as lead singer and lyricist for the alternative rock band Hole and for her marriage to the late Nirvana singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain. Rolling Stone called Love “the most controversial woman in the history of rock”.

Love’s mother Linda Carroll was adopted by an Italian-American couple at birth, retaining no contact with her birth father or her birth mother,… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 15, 2009 at 11:38am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Lenny Kravitz

Leonard Albert "Lenny" Kravitz (born May 26, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and arranger whose "retro" style incorporates elements of rock, soul, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads.

In addition to singing lead and backing vocals, Kravitz often plays all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and percussion himself when recording. He is known for his elaborate stage performances and music videos. Kravitz has had… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 14, 2009 at 9:55am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone describes himself as a practicing Buddhist. Specifically, he has said he follows the Tibetan branch of Buddhism. He was not born into Buddhism, but adopted the faith as an adult.

Oliver Stone's father was a Jewish American stock broker. His mother was a French Catholic. Neither of Stone's parents were particularly religious. In fact, they raised him in neither Judaism nor Catholicism. Stone was raised as an Episcopalian, and regularly attended Episcopalian church… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 12, 2009 at 10:01am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Carly Simon

Carly Elisabeth Simon (born June 25, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and children's author. She rose to fame in the 1970s with a string of hit records, and has since been the recipient of a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award for her work.

She is the former wife of another notable singer-songwriter, James Taylor, with whom she has two children: Sarah "Sally" Maria Taylor and Ben Taylor, who are also musicians.

Simon was inducted into… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 11, 2009 at 10:50am — No Comments

Not So Famous Half-Jews: Albert Gutmacher

Albert Gutmacher was a student in my graduating class at The Central High School of Philadelphia. We graduated Central in June 1971; we were in the 230th class. We weren't friends. Not even acquaintances. It's interesting and revealing that I remember he once said he was half-Jewish. Apparently that's important to me.

His father was Jewish and his mother was Italian. We were in the same English class in 12th grade--Mr. Chester Plummer's class.

I hope Mr. Gutmacher is doing… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 10, 2009 at 10:13am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Carrie Fisher

Carrie Frances Fisher (born October 21, 1956) is an American actress, screenwriter and novelist. She is most famous for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and her bestselling novel Postcards from the Edge.

Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California, the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Her paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. Her younger brother is Todd Fisher and her half-sisters are actresses Joely… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 9, 2009 at 9:53am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942) is an American film actor and producer. Ford is best known for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. He is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. His four-decade career also includes roles in several other Hollywood blockbusters, including Apocalypse Now, Presumed Innocent,… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 8, 2009 at 10:10am — No Comments

Famous Half-Jews: Michael Douglas

Michael Kirk Douglas (born September 25, 1944) is an American actor and producer, primarily in movies and television. Douglas's first television exposure was that of Karl Malden's young college-educated partner, Insp. Steve Keller, in the 1970s crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco, a role he played from 1972 to 1976. Douglas is an Emmy Award-, Golden Globe Award- and two-time Academy Award-winner, first as producer of 1975's Best Picture, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Best Actor in… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 7, 2009 at 9:49am — 1 Comment

Famous Jews With Gentile Fathers: Goldie Hawn

Goldie Jean Hawn (born November 21, 1945) is an American actress, film director and producer, whose career has spanned more than four decades. Hawn is perhaps best known for her roles in Private Benjamin, Foul Play, Wildcats, Overboard, Bird on a Wire, Death Becomes Her, The First Wives Club, and The Banger Sisters. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1969 film Cactus Flower. She is also the mother of actors Oliver Hudson and Kate Hudson. Hawn has… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 5, 2009 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Famous Half-Jews: J.D. Salinger

Jerome David "J. D." Salinger (born January 1, 1919) is an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. He has not published an original work since 1965 and has not been interviewed since 1980.

Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he published the critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day… Continue

Added by Gary Freedman on December 4, 2009 at 9:47am — No Comments



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