Recommended Fun Stuff: Travel, Sports, Health & Education, Politics, Philanthropy, Comedy and Culture!

Travel/Sports:

For those of you loving travel, adventure, and Michael Palin-orientated– journeys, see: www.palinstravels.co.uk

Comedy:

Dan Rolfe (D.Phil., Oxford, and ‘funny man’)/Titch.org . If you want a really good chuckle, check out my friend, Dan Rolfe’s website (http://www.titch.org).  Dan, who’s an astrophysicist by training and trade, missed his real calling, which is twofold: first, to replace Tony Ben, as the difficult, funny Labor MP of the next generation (a man who likes to challenge the media, at every opportunity and be ‘difficult’ and contrary, just for the fun!…).  Check out his Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary link, by going to his Directory and looking under “Useful Tools“. I also highly recommend pointing your mouse at his passport photo, at the top of that page, and keep moving your mouse back and forth, on and off it, and see his many guises and disguises…which brings me to his second ‘calling’: to be the true replacement for Peter Sellers, as Inspector Clouseau…ha, ha…ha. See for yourself.  You’ll also find, there, links to Dan’s mother’s beautiful blown glass, from Devon, and her paintings (if you need a doggy portrait, she’s the one.)

For those loving outrageous historical satire and British comedy, check out web displays of Monty Python songs and screenplays and some of their sketches and songs . Ha, ha…See Matt’s Monty Python Repository, at: http://mzonline.com/bin/view/Python/PythonMovies  or just purchase the published screenplays, which is what I did!

Philosophy, Scholarship and Political/Social Research/Public Service (here, I am listing a few people who were either mentors, family members or other alumni from Oxford, school or overseas research associations I find worth interest. Such folk have made accomplishments in scholarly or other social research, medicine and philanthropy, over the years, that I feel are worth your consideration:

Lionel McPherson (Ph.D. Harvard University. B.A. Princeton,Lionel is a friend I’ve known for many moons.  At the moment he teaches analytic philosophy at Tufts University, in Massachusetts and has published some noteworthy articles in the US, UK and abroad.  Check out his profile and publications (including race-related and war/conflict-resolution issues), at: http://ase.tufts.edu/philosophy/people/mcpherson.shtml

Malcolm Bowie.  (Prof. Malcolm Bowie,  Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, was my former supervisor, in French, at Oxford University, where he was head of the EHRC, Director of Legenda Publications, and former  Marshall Foch Scholar and Fellow at All Souls College).  One of the foremost scholars of French literature, psychoanalysis, Proust and Mallarme, Bowie’s backrgound and scholarly contributions are vast and various (including some theoretical work on art and music), and, at the very least, exquisite.  Sadly, Malcolm passed away in late 2007, but he shall live on in art and in the memories of all he touched, be they his former students, colleagues or readers.

Dr. Paul Collier.  ABC military advisor (that means, the Australian Broadcasting Corp., not the US ABC station).  D.Phil., Oxford, in Military History. A specialist in WWII. military logistics and military informant to the ABC, Paul is also former RAF pilot and a member of the International Spinal Injuries Association. He recently ran for office in South Australia, is an advisor to Quantas and has published scholarly works on military history, including Romel’s WWII. campaign in N. Africa. He was my regular tea date at Oxford, and  is a very special person. Sadly, and to my great dismay, Paul died in March 2010, just before winning a seat in Australian Parliament, in the Dignity for Disabilities Party, which he pioneered. Thankfully, his memory and legacy will live on, as his replacement will undertake many of his policies to work for improved medical and home care for the paralysed and otherwise physically handicapped, and to seek social equality for people with spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Biljana Scott. (D.Phil., B.A. and M.A. from Wadham College, Oxford. Tutor of Linguistics, former Fellow in Chinese philology and linguistics, at Christ Church College).  Bi is not only an amazing mother, gardener and cook, as well as fluent in Mandarin, French, Russian and Yugoslavian (from Yugoslavian and Scottish parents), Bi also contributes to teaching and research, in her home town of Geneva, Switzerland and Oxford, England, between which she divides her time.  She’s also a smiling, energetic, optimist, and amazing photographer (and teacher of Chinese and photography). You can see her work and exhibitions at http://www.biscott.co.uk/photography/exhibitions/. There, you will find the kaleidoscope of what she is and does, in the way of publishing, research, teaching, scholarship, art and diplomacy.  She is a member of the Diplo Foundation, in Geneva, and is just a loving, warm, special human being, a great parent and teacher!

Philosophical Meditations

The Law of Compensation
and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on compensation

Health & Education:

Dr. David Maron, M.D., F.A.C.C.Â(Associate Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University. Founding Member, Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer of Cardiovascular Services of America).  David Maron is a scholar, professor, skiier and Spanish speaker.  Trained at Stanford Univerisity, USC and UCLA, he is a specialist in lipid disorders and preventive medicine, in the field of cardiology.   If you want to keep abreast of his current research or work at Vanderbilt see his page at the Vanderbilt University Physician Referral Directory: http://referraldirectory.mc.vanderbilt.edu/directory/. Alternatively, he can be contacted at CSA’s offices, in Brentwood, Tennessee. He has appeared on Larry King Live, and works for a local cardiology preventive medical center, in Nashville, as well. Please see addresses and details at: http://www.csaheart.com/cms/index.php/contact_us

Wadham College, Oxford University.  I’m going to do a little plug, here, for my alma mater. If you wish for information on how to visit or attend Wadham College, Oxford, or know more about its history and foundation, as well as current developments, see: www.wadham.ox.ac.uk  The Warden is Sir Neil Chalmers, former Director of the Natural History Museum, in London, and a very nice man, in person. The very helpful and generous Development Officer is Mrs. Jessica Mannix, and the Tutorial Office is full of very lovely, helpful women.  I recommend contacting them for information on attendance and degree courses at the college (esp. in arts and languages).

Kelly McLellan.  Kelly is a professional tutor and biologist, with degrees from Edinburgh and Oxford University.  He was the Student (‘Sub’) Dean of Wadham College, when I was a first-year postgraduate, and has remained a friend ever since.  He is the co-manager and creator of this website, a generous father of three little Scottish angels (Lindsay, Sarah, and Connor), husband to Jacqui, and lives in Edinburgh. If you need professional tutoring for your children, and live in the UK, please see his website, for services: www.aplustutors.co.uk

Film & Music: 

Kurt Voss. Film Director, Producer and friend. Prior Releases: Ghost on the Highway: a portrait of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Gun Club.  This is “a provocative new feature documentary examined and celebrating the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce. One of the most notorious and incendiary bands in the history of American popular music.”I list this film, produced by a friend of mine, director and producer of this film, Kurt Voss, who has collaborated with Andrew R. Powell (editor and composer), for “Ghost on the Highway”.  This is a co-production of French Fan Club and Powell Factory Films, and premiered in Los Angeles, on June 29th, 2006.  See: http://www.burritosupreme.com/  Kurt Voss is an independent and documentary filmmaker, based in Los Angeles, and has exhibited his work globally. Former collaborator, Alison Anders, is also an award-winning filmmaker, of Gas, Food,  Lodging (1992), with Ione Skye (of Say Anything), and Mi Vida Loca (1993).

Entertainers involved in music and charity I consider both personally healing and progressive, in terms of their contributions to social change in treatment or care for cancer patients or children’s welfare:

Sir Paul McCartney. NOT a relative or personal friend. Just a great music man who has had extensive involvement in breast cancer charity in the UK. His global, as well as US and Uk-based charities include, but are not limited to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, (the first UK charity committed to breast cancer research, and which campaigns to keep breast cancer at the top of the UK agenda, through education and awareness), and The Garland Appeal (for improved cancer treatment, funding for early detection methods and promoting “the healing power of music” to fight cancer).  Can’t uphold or promote this idea any more that to say, this healing tool WORKS (laughter and song can both be accounted for numerous cases of survival of so many things).  It’s probably the best concept in cancer recovery, both through the possible cell-level influence of music, via improved well-being and possible effects of this on the immune system, but I know only too well how much voice and music can get patients through such periods of strain and loss. (See more, under “Cancer Charities” on this website.)

Ricky Martin. (music at: www.rickymartin.com). So famous I don’t need to say more than that his own voice says for its self, in all its boldness, sensuality and rigor. Ricky Martin Foundation (various UN & NGO involvements that are worthy, including the People For Children Organization, to combat international child sex trafficking.  See: www.rickymartinfoundation.org and www.peopleforchildren.org.)

Lara Fabian.Lara is a half-Sicilian, half-Belgian singer-songwriter, now a Canadian citizen, and widely known in France, Europe and South America. Fabian speaks many languages and sings in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese…She’s a Euro-latin Barbara Striesand, with a bit more kick.   See: http://www.hotguitarist.com/bands/F/fabian_lara.htm for various web links to her videos, interviews and music.  Alternatively, try her homepage, at: www.larafabian.com

Anggun. Singer/songwriter from Jakarta, Thailand, she is one of the most impressive, hot singers from that country.Had I never lived in France, I would never have encountered her lovely voice. Her music is both sensual and pop. Her voice, in English and French, are in native tones, as she and Fabian, both, are fluent in both languages. She’s contributed to film soundtracks (her work is good for action features, but has been used for French animated film), and is just amazing to hear and watch. Very sensual, both in her singing and speaking voice, and great a capella work. Her albums, Desirs Contraires and Luminescence, are just that: luminescent. See her homepage: http://www.anggun.com.

Arts (general):

BBC Radio 4, “The Open Book”, with Mariella Frostrup. If you are interested in literature that crosses genre distinctions and national lines, and is just fascinating, with well articulated interviews with authors and artists on their work and careers, I highly recommend listening to this programme.  The interviews with Mississipian and legal crime thriller author, John Grisham, and the recorded interview with Irish author (in America) Michael Collins, were both excellent, and are available in the online archives: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/openbook/openbook_200309.shtml  Enjoy!