White Pony Express

White Pony Express (WPE), a nonprofit group dedicated to ending hunger and poverty in Contra Costa Alive Media Magazine September 2017 Brenda and recipient White Pony ExpressCounty, is calling for volunteers to aid in responding to increased calls for help. WPE Food Rescue delivers close to 5,000 pounds of fresh, top-quality food every day to organizations that feed the hungry. WPE’s Free General Store gives away high-quality clothing, shoes, toys, and children’s books in low income communities. WPE serves about 60,000 county residents, all free of charge, working out of its Pleasant Hill distribution centers.

HowWPE Rescues Food

Seven days a week, WPE Food Rescue volunteers take trucks to supermarkets, restaurants, and farmers markets where they pick up donations of surplus food—good, nourishing food—that would ordinarily be thrown away. There are many generous donors to this vibrant food rescue program, including those located in Antioch, Concord, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. After WPE volunteers sort the food, they deliver it to Contra Costa nonprofit groups that feed the hungry. All this is done free of charge.

Alive Media Magazine September 2017  Peter holding produce White Pony ExpressIn just under three years, WPE has delivered more than 3,000,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, cheese, deli, and baked goods (equivalent to 2,500,000 meals) that would otherwise have gone to waste and that the hungry would have done without.




WPE Stages Innovative “Mobile Boutiques”Alive Media Magazine September 2017 Expectant mother with baby clothes White Pony Express

WPE’s Free General Store has hosted36 unique “Mobile Boutiques,” at which residents in need can “shop” at these Boutiques for new or like-new clothing, shoes, toys, games, and books and then take them home—all free of charge. In addition, FGS’s Direct Distributions Program partners with service providers around the county who let Store volunteers know what kind of clothing their recipients need. Then the Store sends high-quality clothing to help dress and protect those people. Through its Boutiques and the Direct Distribution program, the Free General Store has given away more than 250,000 items to people in underserved parts of the county.

Alive Media Magazine September 2017  Pittsburg Mobile Boutique White Pony Express







Founded Solely to Serve Others

Carol Weyland Conner, PhD, spiritual director of Sufism Reoriented, founded WPE in September 2013 when she was troubled that in a county of such abundance, scores of thousands were going hungry, while at the same time food retailers were throwing out huge quantities of healthy, fresh food. Dr. Conner Alive Media Magazine September 2017  mt. diablo Cindy G Ken Toni White Pony Expressdeveloped WPE’s Food Rescue and Free General Store as free programs to enable those who have more than they need easily give to those who have less, so that all could share in the happiness and abundance of life. In 2014, WPE became a separate public benefit nonprofit group. Dr. Conner wished service for WPE to spring from the heart, so today WPE is staffed entirely by volunteers who want to help, purely in the spirit of service.





Alive Media Magazine September 2017 Boy takes home Pink Panther White Pony ExpressVolunteers Needed Urgently Needed

“Our success has only been possible because of the selfless service of 400 volunteers who find great satisfaction and joy in being so helpful to others,”says Gary Conner, Executive Coordinator. “Going forward, our ability to help our neighbors is limited only by the number of people who join with us. We very much need and welcome more volunteers! We have many roles available with flexible schedules. Please just give us a call!”

Interested volunteers should contact Mandy Nakaya at 925-818-6361 or email her at mandy@whiteponyexpress.org.  For more on WPE, go whiteponyexpress.org.



Sweet September

Days may be shorter and the evenings a bit cooler, but here in California, September is little more than a gentle transition into fall.

Although the farmers’ market is still stocked with truckloads of vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet corn, this month marks the final days of watermelons, cantaloupe, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, and nectarines. As nature’s consolation prize, however, September brings the new crop of creamers and fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, citrus, figs, and my favorite: Bosc pears.

PearsUnlike other pear varieties, these are best eaten while still slightly firm. For the next few months they will undoubtedly be part of every cheese course I serve—sometimes drizzled with a bit of local honey for added glamour. And Bosc pears will be my first choice whenever I reach for a piece of fruit to snack on, or something special to toss into a green salad.

With their long tapered necks, russeted skin, and almost sandy-textured flesh, Bosc pears maintain their elegant shape when cooked, making them ideal for poaching, baking, or grilling whole or halved. I often sauté sliced pears in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper and perhaps some chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, to serve alongside roasted or grilled pork.

To celebrate September, here’s an easy dessert that delivers all the goodness of pie without any of the angst. Its free-form structure eliminates the drama of easing pastry into a pie tin; blind-baking the crust; and worrying whether the edges will collapse in the oven. Known as a galette in France and a crostata in Italy, this rustic tart is something that belongs in every good cook’s repertoire.

The following recipe can be tweaked to fit your mood. To the filling, toss in a few dried cherries, raisins, chopped walnuts, or sliced almonds; add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg; a teaspoon or two of finely grated fresh ginger; or a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped candied (crystallized) ginger. It’s all good.

And no one will complain if you serve a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.


3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Dash of salt

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 firm but ripe Bosc pears

Buttery Pastry Dough (recipe follows), well-chilled as directed

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into bits


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the 3 tablespoons sugar, the cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the lemon juice. Working one at a time, stem the pears, peel, cut in half lengthwise, core, and cut into thin slices. Add the slices to the bowl, tossing gently to coat with the sugar mixture.
  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 13- to 14-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Do not trim the edges; they should remain slightly ragged. Loosely drape the dough around a rolling pin and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. (If the pastry has become soft, refrigerate or freeze the cookie sheet for a few minutes until the pastry is cool.)
  1. Scrape the pear mixture onto the center of the pastry, leaving a 2- to 3-inch-wide border around the edge. Scatter the butter pieces over the pears. Using your fingers, fold the pastry border up and over the edges of the filling, pleating the pastry as needed. The fruit in the center of the galette will remain uncovered. Brush the pastry edge lightly with water and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.
  1. Bake until the pears are bubbly-hot and the pastry is crisp and golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the galette cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then use 1 or 2 wide spatulas to carefully slide it onto a wire cooling rack. Serve the galette slightly warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges with a pizza wheel or sharp knife. Serves 4 to 6. This is best served the same day it is made.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/3 cup ice-cold water

  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Process briefly to blend. Add the butter and process, pulsing the machine on and off, just until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs with bits of butter still visible.
  1. With the machine on, gradually pour in the ice water, processing just until the dough starts to come together. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1hour or as long as 2 days. (Freeze for longer storage.)

The Danville Certified Farmers’ Market, located at Railroad & Prospect, is open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. For specific crop information call the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association at 1-800-949-FARM, or visit their web site at www.pcfma.org. This market is made possible through the generous support of the Town of Danville. Please show your appreciation by patronizing the many fine shops and restaurants located in downtown Danville. Buy fresh. Buy local. Live well!



Pear Pointers

Handle pears gently. Even hard, un-ripe fruit can bruise easily.


Pears are picked when fully mature but not ripe. If left to ripen on the tree, they develop deposits of lignin, which cause the flesh to become grainy. So purchase your pears several days in advance to allow time for ripening. (If you’re in a hurry, enclose the pears in a brown paper bag to accelerate the process.)  Once ripe, store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.


To judge the ripeness of a pear, start with the sniff test. Then gently press the neck of the fruit—near the stem—with your thumb. The flesh should give slightly to pressure.


The average pear weighs in at under 100 calories, with 5 grams of fiber.

Paul Jefferson

Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Jefferson will be headlining Discovery Counseling Center’s fifth annual fall fundraiser, An Evening of Laughter and Music. Paul is an accomplished country artist; as a solo performer, a duo and as part of a popular band. However, it’s Paul’s songwriting talent that has kept him in high demand in and around Nashville for the past twenty years. Paul has written songs for the likes of Keith Urban, Little Texas, Jon Bon Jovi, Timothy B. Schmitt (Eagles), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go’s), and Buddy Jewel, to name just a few. He co-wrote Aaron Tippin’s number one song, That’s as Close as I’ll Get to Loving You. Not bad for a kid from Northern California.Alive Media Magazine September 2017 Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Jefferson

I first met Paul Jefferson Jaqua in the spring of 1989 at a little coffee shop in Mountain View. A mutual friend, Steve Silver, convinced me to check out this aspiring country artist whose brother was the starting quarterback on our community college football team. County music was beginning a surge in popularity with the emergence of such popular acts as Garth Brooks, The Judds, Travis Tritt, Brooks and Dunn and the band, Restless Heart, along with the more established artists like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Alabama and Reba McIntire. I’ll admit, my expectations were relatively low, knowing that Paul had grown up in Woodside, California, playing tennis and learning to fly while earning a Bio­ Medical degree at Cal. However, the minute he hit the stage, I could tell by his old-school country sound and appeal that audiences would gravitate toward such an authentic performer.

Over the next couple of years, I became Paul’s booking agent, merchandise manager, publicist, roadie, bodyguard and confidant. It wasn’t until the unexpected death of our good friend Steve that Paul would leave the comfort of the Bay Area to pursue his dreams in Nashville. “When Steve died, I knew I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t push myself and give Nashville a chance,” Paul recalls with a heavy heart.

Before leaving for Nashville, Paul played a lot of small clubs and cafes around the South Bay. “Playing those blood buckets was tough. More than a few were barely keeping the doors open trying to capitalize on the popularity of country music,” says Paul, “What made it bearable was playing with a lot of really good people and talented musicians.” A highlight during those early times was when he was cast as Hank Williams in the San Jose Stage Company’s production of Lost Highway. Paul’s connection to the music of Hank Williams would live on for the next 25 years.

Originally signed as a songwriter by a Los Angeles based publishing house in 1993, Paul was flown to Nashville to perform a collection of original songs at the legendary Bluebird Cafe. While in Nashville, he was recording demos and performing new material with a session vocalist named Steve McClintock, a slightly older music veteran.The pair was quickly offered a record deal, as the duo, Jefferson McClintock. Paul had fewer reservations about dropping his given last name, Jaqua, than he did becoming part of a duo, so he passed on the offer. Oddly, Paul has certain regrets about both of those decisions to this day.

Paul Jefferson signed a management contract with legendary music manager Miles Copeland (no relation) who had managed The Police, REM, The Go-Go’s and The English Beat. “Miles was new to Nashville and looking for country artists. He also signed a young Keith Urban,” Paul recalls. Shortly thereafter, Paul released his first CD with Almo Records and his first single, Check Please, hit number 40 on the country music charts. Sadly, Paul was going through some personal and professional struggles just as his video for Check Please made its debut on CMT (Country Music Television), which didn’t allow him to truly enjoy a lot of his early success. He parted ways with both his management team and Almo, and eventually went on to record and self-release his follow-up album; Greatest Hits Volume Ill which he says is a record he is extremely proud of due to the strength of the songs. This trying period did open the door to writing sessions with Sonny Lemaire of the band, Exile, and with John Scott Sherrill (Paul’s all-time favorite songwriter) and Porter Howell of the band, Little Texas. His work with Porter eventually led to the foundation of their group, Hilljack.

Paul likes to say he and Porter just clicked when it came to writing and performing. Hilljack released an independent record, but had a major league management and booking team. This allowed the band to tour the U.S. and Europe opening for some of country music’s biggest names including; Dwight Yokum, John Berry and Wynonna Judd. Unfortunately, after little more than a year, and just as the band’s popularity and success was starting to take off, Little Texas reunited and Porter left Hilljack to rejoin his original band.Try as he might to replace his good friend, the chemistry was never the same with other guitarists and the band eventually broke up.

Paul met the immensely talented and very successful Canadian country artist, Lisa Brokup, in 2008. She and Paul were married 24 months later and the couple has a daughter, Ivy, who just turned seven. When asked if Ivy can sing, Paul gave the response, “She’s very loud, but she prefers to dance.” Lisa and Paul regularly write together and perform regionally and around Nashville as a duo, The Jeffersons. Their debut album, TheJefferson’s Vol. 1, was released in June of 2011 by Royalty Records to very strong reviews. Today, Lisa is enjoying success performing in a critically acclaimed Patsy Cline tribute and the couple takes turns touring so that one of them is always home with their daughter.

Throughout the course of our interview, I juggled the role of journalist with friend and fan. When I asked Paul how he felt about the success of the ABC series Nashville, he indicated that it’s brought a lot of new fans to country music and packs the venues around town, but he admitted that it feels the storylines hit just a little too close to home.”I feel, in a way, like the show is imitating my life.” When I asked if he has a favorite song that he’s written or one that he’s most proud of, “You’re not my God,” was his immediate response.The song was written with and recorded by Keith Urban. Paul candidly revealed that the song is about addiction. “Keith and I are both in recovery and it’s a song about conquering your demons. It’s inspired a lot of people, and that’s something that really means a lot to me.”

Knowing that Paul has played the Grand Ole Opry twice (solo and with Hilljack), I asked him if that was the pinnacle of his career. While he acknowledged that playing there was a wonderful experience, he recalled a tour opening for Trisha Yearwood in Europe. “Playing the Civic Center Opera House in Birmingham, England was the greatest performing experience of my life. It was a magnificent theater with absolutely perfect sound,” Paul recalls.

I also inquired about the cross-over “pop” appeal of such country artists as Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum and The Zack Brown Band. Paul never expressed any animosity or jealousy, but he did say the music market goes through cycles.”A lot of the new songs are catchy and they appeal to the younger buyers, but it’s gotten away from the music I came here to make. Music goes through cycles and it will eventually come back to pure country.”

When it comes to the pure country sound, it doesn’t get any more pure than the music of Hank Williams. Over the years, Paul has often talked about how much he loved performing as Hank in the Lost Highway production in the early 90s. It’s with this in mind, along with his wife Lisa’s success with the Patsy Cline project, that Paul has begun working on a Hank tribute. “This isn’t a play where I have to portray Hank in his 20s, it’s just me doing Hank songs and a few of my own that were inspired by Hank.” The Hank project has already received a lot of advance buzz, and Paul hopes to launch a tour early next year. Until then, he is always in demand to collaborate with his peers and for a guy with Bay Area roots that’s pretty flattering and impressive.

For tickets to Paul’s upcoming show at the Village Theater in Danville on September 29th, go to: www.discoveryctr.net/eventsandnews/fallfundraiser.html

A Win Win for Our Community

Every so often I like to remind our readers that while it is our intention to bring interesting, informative and entertaining content to you each month, ALIVE Magazine also works hand in hand with our community, providing much-needed marketing services to various charitable and cultural non-profits. For example, in this issue alone we have pages for Sentinels of Freedom,  White Pony Express, Friends of the Blackhawk Museums, Discovery Counseling Center, the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation, the Lamorinda Film and Entertainment Foundation and the Clayton Theatre Company.     

Through the generous support provided by our loyal advertisers over the past ten years, ALIVE Magazine has been able to provide promotional support to over 50 non-profit, community organizations. In essence, the many fine companies that regularly advertise in ALIVE have enabled us to provide in excess of $250,000.00 in promotional and advertising space to these worthy organizations.

Now it’s time to take it up a notch.Alive Media Magazine September 2017  treehands White Pony Express

On November 1, 2016, we will launch a new program—the ALIVE Help Foundation—that will not only provide in-kind marketing and advertising support, but direct funding to worthwhile local charitable organizations as well.

The way the program works is simple: For any business or professional (must be a new or returning advertiser) placing either a full or half page ad in ALIVE, we will donate, every month, 15% of the cost of the ad to any legitimate charitable or cultural organization of the advertiser’s choice (so long as it meets out criteria), PLUS we will run a one-time, promotional, full page advertisement (or editorial) for that charity at no cost to the charitable organization.

So, to you business owners: This is your opportunity to provide significant support to a cause that you really care about, while helping your own business at the same time. Through this “win-win” program, together we can generate the awareness and an ongoing financial resource that so many of these organizations need.

Contact me today at 925-837-7303 or by email at eric@aliveeastbay.com to learn more.













2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

Under 20K for the Under 20 Crowd!

Are you looking for an affordable car for the newest driving member of your family or just a very fuel-efficient commuter vehicle? Well, there are a few options to choose from in the sub-compact car category; however, which one holds the claim as the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid gasoline-powered vehicle available in America? That would be the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage!

2017 Mirage GTThe Mirage is the smallest car in the Mitsubishi stable. It was refreshed for the 2017 model year which may be why they decided not to produce a 2016 model. It hasn’t been hot on the buyer’s list when searching for a sub-compact car with sales dropping for the past couple of years. I’m sure one of the goals of the redesigned 5-door Mirage was to help re-spark interest in this little hatchback.

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage is available in three trim levels: ES ($13,830), SE ($15,630) and GT ($17,330). Prices include a destination fee of $835. The U.S. version of the Mirage is built in Thailand.

Power comes in the form of a 3-cylinder, 1.2-liter motor with only 78 horsepower. The fuel economy isn’t bad at all with 37 City and 43 Highway. It’s not a rocketship at 78 horsepower and there definitely isn’t a warp drive, however, on flat roads it doesn’t get in its own way. The ES and SE come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission and an optional CVT automatic transmission that is also standard on the GT.

Mitsubishi claims to have made significant improvements to the handling and it does have a great turning ratio. I did experience wind noise and if you don’t give the doors a decent push, they will not close tightly.

The Mirage is one of the smallest five-door hatchbacks sold in the United States, yet it is longer than a Fiat 500. The styling is smooth and cute. New changes for the 2017 model include new front and rear bumpers and lower-body treatments, different headlights, foglamps, a new grille, new 14 and 15-inch wheels and a new spoiler.

The interior is simple and clean with offerings that include air conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, steel wheels and a four-speaker 140-watt sound system. Bluetooth compatibility is an option on the ES. In addition, a new available 300-watt Rockford-Fosgate™ audio system with EcoPunch™ is available with Smartphone Link Display Audio, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™–the first Mitsubishi model to feature this popular infotainment system in the States.

2017 Mirage GTSome new features for 2017 include new front and rear seat materials, 4-way adjustable driver’s and front passenger seat, keyless entry with panic feature, new front fascia with chrome upper/lower grille, new hood design, LED tail lamps, rear spoiler, color-keyed front and rear bumpers, folding side-view mirrors, door handles and tailgate handle, new 14-inch alloy wheel design; 15-inch alloy wheels (SE/GT), HID automatic on/off headlights (SE/GT), and beveled fog lamps (SE/GT).

Room for improvement:

  • The dash and door pieces are hard plastic
  • The rear camera image is a bit fuzzy

Cool Features:

  • Push Button Start
  • Available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™

Safety on the 2017 Mirage has improved from previous poor ratings to mostly good ratings by the Institute for Highway Safety. The Mirage’s safety features include seven airbags—driver and passenger front and side bags, side-curtain bags over the front and rear windows, plus a knee airbag for the driver. For an inexpensive vehicle, the Mirage still includes stability control, traction control, and all of the typical anti-lock braking systems.

In Summary –The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage is a decent vehicle for getting around town without putting much of a dent in the gas tank. Mitsubishi has truly improved the looks and style of the vehicle as it continues to move in the right direction. Let’s not forget that you get a fair amount of features for nearly under $14,000.


2016 Mitsubishi Mirage GT

Base price:                  $16,495as driven: $17,330 (including destination & optional

Engine:                         1.2-liter MIVEC DOHC3-cylinder

Horsepower:               78 @ 6,000 RPM

Torque:                        74 @ 4,000 RPM

Transmission:                5-speed CVT automatic

Drive:                          FWD Drive

Seating:                       5-passenger

Turning circle:            30.2 feet

Cargo space:               17.2 cubic feet

Curb weight:               2117 pounds

Fuel capacity:               9.2 gallons

EPA mileage:              City 37/Hwy 43

Wheel Base:                 96.5 inches

Warranty:                    5 years / 30,000 miles powertrain limited

Also consider:             Chevrolet Spark, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, andToyota


Leonard Bernstein, a 20th Century Musical Genius

Few people ever reach the pinnacle of their life’s work while engaged in so many different aspects of their careers. One exception is Leonard Bernstein, lauded as one of the greatest American Composers of the 20th Century.

He was noted for “doing it all;” a composer, orchestrator, pianist, conductor, author and music educator.  He not only indulged in all of the above but truly excelled in them. As a young man Bernstein was heralded as the American ‘Wonder Boy’ of the 1940s.

“Bernstein became the first American conductor of international celebrity,” wrote Ethan Mordden in A Guide To Orchestral Music, “The only composer since George Gershwin to attempt a rapprochement between the popular native sound and the penetration of serious music.”

hands of leader on the orange backgroundHis Life         

Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on August 25, 1918.  He studied at Harvard under the renowned theorist, Walter Piston, author of the book Harmony, (the same text I studied from while an undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley.)

Bernstein studied conducting with Fritz Reiner and composition with Randall Thompson at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. From 1940 to 1942, while at Tanglewood Institute, he was under the tutelage of Serge Koussevitzky.  During this period Bernstein became the assistant conductor of the famous New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1943 an unexpected happening occurred that won Bernstein instantaneous fame and a meteoric rise in the music world. Bernstein had to step in and conduct a radio broadcast concert of the New York Philharmonic when Conductor Bruno Walter became ill at the last moment. He did such a brilliant job, critics said his debut was sensational. This performance launched his conducting career.

He became principal conductor of the orchestra from 1958 to1969.  During his tenure he guest conducted major orchestras in the United States and around the world. He especially enjoyed his relationship with the Vienna Symphony and the Israel Symphony.

With his good looks, pleasing personality, brilliance as a music educator and his amazing conducting prowess, he was a natural to appear on radio and television. Bernstein hosted a series of Saturday morning “Young Peoples Concerts” from Carnegie Hall on CBS; later moving to prime time on television.

He became an ambassador of classical music, giving lectures and concerts, making high art available to the American public.

His Music

Bernstein’s unique, eclectic style manifested itself in two musical spheres: the symphonic genre and the Broadway Musical style.  He was considered a master of both forms. “Life without music is unthinkable. Music without life is academic,” said Bernstein, “that is why my contact with music is a total embrace.”

Bernstein’s music reflects his international interests. He is particularly fond of European thinking; their way of life and his own Jewish and Russian heritage. This is often found in his musical expressiveness.

“He is at once linked with the music of Benjamin Britten and Dimitri Shostakovich, as well as George Gershwin and Aaron Copland,” said famed Music Director and Conductor, John Mauceri.

No matter what medium Bernstein wrote for, the distinction between serious and theater works became unclear, because he used idioms from both genres in his music. He had the capacity to blend several music styles in his own unique way to create the unmistakable “Bernstein sound.”

As good as his serious music is, he is more famous for his Broadway style musicals.  Bernstein’s very famous, first musical, On the Town, (1944) with hit tunes, New York, New York and Lonely Town, grew out of the ballet score, Fancy Free.  It was about three sailors on leave in New York.

Some of his background materials were drawn from literary works.  He wrote songs based on Voltaire’s Candide, including, the Best of All Possible Worlds and Make Our Garden Grow.

In 1957 he wrote his classic and most famous musical, West Side Story. This Show was claimed by many as the best musical ever written. Songs from this show include: Somewhere; Maria; Tonight; America; One Hand One Heart and I Feel Pretty.  The symphonic dances from West Side Story have become a staple of the concert repertory. This show later became a very popular film.

Bernstein’s serious, or concert music, is exemplified by his first symphony Jeremiah, written in 1944 and dedicated to his father. It was deemed the best new orchestral work by the New York Music Critics Circle. His second symphony was based on W.H. Auden’s poem, The Age of Anxiety but was somewhat less noteworthy than the first and third symphonies.

Bernstein’s third symphony, Kaddish, written in 1963, was much more avant-garde as he used new and experimental devices like the twelve-tone technique.

Other serious works include:  Concerto for Orchestra; Chichester Psalms; Ballets; Choral Works; Chamber music; Mass and Operas.

“Just as long as people care a damn about something finer in life, than power and money and their imagined superiority over others, there will always be Lenny around to educate, entertain edify, move and inspire – to change us all in some wonderful, subtle way,” from, My Brother Lenny, by Burton Bernstein, writer and younger brother of  Leonard Bernstein.

Needless to say, Bernstein accumulated many awards in his lifetime of musical endeavors.  He won numerous Tony Awards and also received Emmy Awards for his teaching and presenting educational broadcasts for children.

He was a popular television music educator without peer. I listened and watched these programs as a young person and was completely captivated by this charismatic man who made symphony music come alive and be exciting for young people.

Sadly, after a lifetime of chain-smoking, it finally caught up with him. He suffered with emphysema and lung cancer. He died in 1990 at the age of 72 from cardiac arrest and lung failure.

Bernstein said, “The key to the mystery of a great artist is, that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another…and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.”

His legacy will continue to enrich many lives for centuries to come.





Night at the Museum

Imagine if you will, attending a fund raising event at the Blackhawk Museums in Danville, and being greeted by numerous historic re-enactment characters such as General Custer, Jesse James, a Civil War soldier, and others who emerge from the shadows of America’s Old West history. Several such characters will be on hand to share stories of our rich past and guide visitors through the museums’ “Spirit of the Old West” exhibition.indian slider

Friends of the Blackhawk Museums is sponsoring “Spirit of the Old West – Night at the Museum” event to benefit the Children’s Education and Transportation Fund. The Western themed event at the Blackhawk Museum commences at five o’clock on Sunday, October 2 with a no-host reception followed by dinner, dancing to a live band, and live auctions.

Among some of the most exciting auction items are; a private tour for six guests to Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage in Burbank; four credentials to the 2017 Pebble Beach Concourse Club d’Elegance; a two night Tri-Valley Wine hotel package for four; “Night at the Museum” overnight sleepover; and a Monterey Weekend, two-person package that includes use of new Jaguar.

While strolling through the “Spirit of the Old West” exhibition, costumed characters will re-enact historic events with ‘first person’ accounts including Plains Indians, Settlers, Wagon Master, Frontier Army, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and General George Custer who will invite visitors through the portal to the Old West’s thrilling past.

The “Spirit of the Old West” gallery features authentic Plains Indian 19th century mounts of buffalo, American eagle, bear and wolf specimens.  A 140-foot long, three-dimensional, topographical diorama of miniatures depicts a visual history of the American West including buffalo hunts, wagon trains, and General Custer’s Last Stand.

The exhibition includes thematic features such as historic photographs, a tipi, a covered wagon, and an extensive collection of Western memorabilia and artifacts such as Plains Indian eagle feather bonnets, buffalo horn headdresses, buckskin garments, tomahawks, war shields, ceremonial pipes, cradle boards, tools and spear points.

The Culture of the Old West is contextualized in the exhibits including all aspects of the West’s human presence; the Plains Indians, Cowboys, Homesteading Settlers and Pioneers, Cavalry and Wagon Trains—themes that formed the landscape of American Western history.

Friends of the Blackhawk Museums, a volunteer organization, raises funds to benefit the Children’s Education and Transport Fund that enables Bay Area schoolchildren to visit Blackhawk Museums’ International Automotive Treasures and the “Spirit of the Old West” exhibitions.

Last year over 8,700 children visited the museum, 3,600 of them brought by the Museum-sponsored bus program. Since the Museum’s school program inception in 1991 over 186,000 students have visited with a growing attendance since the opening of “Spirit of the Old West” exhibition.

“NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM” Event – Sunday October 2, 5 pm $60.00 per person

Tickets: www.BlackhawkMuseum.org or NATM@BlackhawkMuseum.org         

Phone: 925.736.2280 ext. 234 or contact Joyce Tucker 925.736.9393


Trees, Water and Seeds

Q. The leaves on our forty-year old Fruitless Mulberry have been dropping. We don’t water it much as the shallow roots are growing in the lawn area. Do you think the canopy has outgrown its root system?

A. No, I do not think your Mulberry has out grown its root system as they’re not a short-lived tree. This is a drought related problem. In previous years, frequent lawn watering was sufficient to support a mature tree. However, dry winters, water restrictions and several triple-digit heat spells are showing its effect on mature landscape trees throughout the area. While you may have stopped watering your lawn, you should not abandon watering mature trees. They more than pay their way with the energy savings and the cooling effect from the shade along with the increase in property value. Trees with exposed roots and or shallow-rooted varieties such as Redwoods are susceptible to water stress. It’s not too late to take some positive steps this fall and to continue them next year and beyond. Mature trees should be watered every three to four weeks, June through October, depending on the temperatures. This is particularly important for those areas replanted or not planted at all. I’d mulch the exposed root area with a three inch layer of organic matter to replace the insulation effect from the previous lawn. You could use bark, compost or the natural debris from other plants along with shredded household paper. Also, be sure not to bury the crown or base of the tree with the mulch.  Next, under the canopy, set up a drip system or better yet use my personal favorite—a soaker hose, the grandfather of the drip irrigation systems. Soaker hoses offer a slow and steady release of water to your tree(s). The slow release allows the soil around tree roots to gradually absorb the water. And the proximity of the hose to soil means that very little if any is lost to evaporation. It’s tough to know how long you should run your soaker hose to get enough, but not too much, water into the ground. It’s recommended you apply six to eight inches of water per month in one or several waterings. The easiest way to calculate this is with a shallow container such as a tuna can. It’s placed under a section of hose and you see how long it takes to fill it up with one inch of water.  You then multiply that by six or eight to determine how long to run you hose. Once that’s determined, you automate the process with a Dramm Water Timer attached to your hose bib. With turf being replaced with water wise planting, mature trees are going to suffer unless measures are taken to replace the moisture the previous lawn provided.

Note: Here are two short videos produced by the Forest Service and California ReLeaf on how to water mature and young trees. They worth the viewing.  https://youtu.be/lrirPBMTYi0  and    https://youtu.be/P_kQZriJ38U.

Q.  I purchased my tomatoes seeds online from the Burpee Seed Company. I germinated the seeds and transplanted twelve seedlings into my vegetable garden last spring. The plants have all prospered, however, five plants produced dinky, little, cherry like tomatoes instead of the desired large, slicing type tomato. What happen and what should I do next year to prevent it from recurring?Много разных семян овощей и цветов

A.  I do not believe anything culturally went wrong with your tomato plants. This is a simple case of human error. Flower and vegetable seeds are packaged by machine. When they change from each variety, the machine should be cleaned out of any remaining seed before resuming packaging. This apparently did not occur with your seed package so you ended up planting two different varieties. I’d write Burpee and explain the problem and ask for refund.

Q. We removed an old apricot and plum tree from our backyard. We’re planning to pour a cement slab over one spot and place a shed over the other. The stumps are below the soil surface and I’ve been digging out the other roots, but it’s a lot of work. If I leave the roots, will I have a problem with shoots growing through the cement and or shed floor?

A. It’s not necessary to remove all the roots. You should level the area and remove those roots in the area of the new pads. It is going to be difficult for roots to penetrate a cement slab as long as it’s poured correctly. I’d be concerned with cracks, especially from earthquakes, so you might pour a thicker slab than normal. Apricots and plums are budded on the same root stock that is notorious for suckering, so I’d expect that suckers will appear in the open area beyond the pads. Right now, there isn’t much you can do. You’ll have to wait for new shoots to develop and then spot treat them with a herbicide or remove them manually. Which herbicide you use will depend on where the shoots are and the location of desirable trees and shrubs. I wouldn’t be inclined to spray any herbicide on bare ground as it’s not a very effective control. You’ll need to be persistent as it will be a battle of attrition which you will win.


Ego vs Progress, Continued

Scientific research, in its pure form, is magnificent. It has no predetermined outcome and is conducted by individuals who are totally open to new and different information. Medicine at its best is quite similar in as much as the doctor should not be prejudiced and should always have an open mind, quickly recognizing that the diagnosis may be incorrect, and a new approach or specialist be considered.

In both of the above examples, throw in EGO along with a memorized protocol to a misconceived initial idea or diagnosis and you have a very common result: failure and/or lack of progress.

Looking back in history there exist classic examples of egotistical attitudes severely slowing growth in both physics and medicine. Around the end of the 19th Century, Max Planck was one of the earliest scientists to propose what came to be known as Quantum Physics. Other greats like Einstein and Tesla got involved as well. To this day their ideas are challenged. One resulted in the world being prevented from having free, pollution-free electricity, a Tesla invention.  Because of the better understanding of magnetism and electricity, a doctor by the name of Albert Abrams, a Stanford professor, began a study of the electricity and magnetic fields created in the human body.

One of Abram’s inventions was the “Reflexophone” that detected disturbances in magnetic fields that could identify not only the disease, but, in some cases, the cure.  He used this tool and accurately detected the presence of syphilis in the director of the medical school at Stanford. Due to his ideas being so outside of the norm, he was labeled a quack by the American Medical Association.

Today Abram’s work is reappearing in Europe with instruments that can detect, and sometimes cure or prevent diseases. It seems that a malfunction of an organ can create a situation that brings on a disease and this malfunction can be detected.  Once detected, there is a chance that immune system and other factors can be concentrated into that area to correct that condition.

The egotists never were able to stop Quantum Physics, even though in many cases it does not appear logical.  Our brains are not there yet. A famous physicist, Micho Kaku, said, “It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in the 20th Century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say the only thing that quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct.”

Why should a doctor specializing in Dental Sleep Medicine, Pain and TMD be concerned about the above history?  I am sick and tired of doctors throwing pills at undiagnosed diseases, causing prolonged, needless, secondary diseases and suffering.  As the old saying goes, he who does not study history is destined to repeat it. If medicine is to progress, research must be performed by purely scientific methods, not guided by profit.

At Advanced Oral Diagnosis & Treatment Center in Danville we specialize in TMJ treatment and Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea.  Please visit www.aodtc.com for more information and to request a complimentary consultation.

Tennis Elbow Serving Up Pain for You?

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is similar to its counterpart, Golfer’s elbow. The primary differences between these conditions are the location of the pain and the activity that leads to injury. However, both conditions are caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, leading to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint, commonly called tendonitis. Tennis is one common cause of tendonitis, but many other sports and work related activities can cause the same problem.

The cause of tennis elbow can vary from a single violent action (acute injury) to, more commonly, a repetitive stress injury where an action is performed repeatedly and pain gradually develops. In an acute injury of the elbow, inflammation occurs without substantial tissue damage. However, in a repetitive stress situation a person may experience damage to the tendon and surrounding soft tissue causing tissue degeneration over time. Inflammation from acute injury often responds quickly to rest and anti-inflammatory treatment. However, if the injury is due to tendon tissue degeneration, treatment will be longer and will be focused on improving the strength of the tendon as well as rebuilding tissues.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

With tennis elbow the pain is on the outside of the elbow and may radiate down the forearm into the wrist.  It can be common to have pain and/or weakness when turning a door knob, holding a coffee cup or shaking hands.

Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow does not usually cause any long-term disability. However, the condition may become stubborn and proper rehabilitation will help alleviate the symptoms and get you back to life again.

Rest and Reduce Inflammation: The first step a person should take if tendinitis is suspected is to stop the activities that cause the pain and inflammation. Use a topical cream containing Arnica to begin to reduce the inflammatory process quickly.

Laser Therapy to Heal the Damaged Tissue: Ending the pain caused by tennis elbow requires healing the damaged tissue. Class IV laser therapy is an excellent method for this, because it is presently the only form of therapy that can both reduce inflammation and heal tissue simultaneously. Laser treatments at Align Healing Center are done with the K-laser Cube a Class IV Laser. This laser does not cut or burn but is gently absorbed by the tissue. During Laser Therapy the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, increasing metabolic activity and improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the production of cellular energy (ATP) that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, scar tissue and pain.

Correct the Mechanics of Motion: Assessing the forearm, elbow, shoulder and spine for proper postural feedback is done to diagnose and correct improper alignment. After proper alignment is restored, specific muscular taping is applied to improve circulation and insure proper motion on a daily basis.  Lastly, specific strengthening and stretching exercises are given. By strengthening the muscles and tendons involved with tennis elbow, you can prevent the problem from returning.

At Align Healing Center we are having great success not only treating tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, but also treatingplantar fasciitis, sciatica, shoulder and neck pain, migraines, arthritis, carpal tunnel, post surgical pain, sports injuries and more; even long-term residual pain. Ar­thritis and degenerative disc disease sufferers can see long term benefits from this treatment without any of the negative side effects experienced with the long term use of medications.

 Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. She has been active in our natural health & wellness community since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.