Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 in review

For much of the world, 2013 was a difficult, strife ridden year: domestic and international terrorism, government abuse and suspicion thereof, and the anniversary of an American tragedy.  Yet the economy improved despite continued government sequestration and a protracted shutdown, and Congress did something it hadn’t done in two years – passed a budget.

I’ve made no secret that the most important domestic political issue to me is LGBT rights.  On that front, the community witnessed a series of judicial and political victories, so that by the end of this year, 17 states with a population of over 123 million people now have same-sex marriage.  It is my hope that in 2014, Ohio will join the ranks of those states.  The comings out of a number of celebrities, from Jodie Foster and Wentworth Miller, to Robbie Rogers and Tom Daley, contributed to the mainstreaming of LGBT people – much to the consternation of religious extremists and radical LGBT separatists. 

The big story in South Euclid this year was the purchase of South Euclid’s Telling Mansion by investor Richard A. Barone.  While the Cuyahoga County Public Library Board’s decision to move the branch to a new location and sell the Mansion has been unpopular, it now appears to be a fait accompli – despite a new lawsuit recently filed to prevent the sale from “closing”.  I believe that Mr. Barone’s proposal to use part of the Mansion as a porcelain art museum, and his welcoming of the TellingMansion Preservation Organization’s assistance represent the best way forward in guiding the Telling site into the future.

I went to more concerts this year than I can remember - Severance Hall is always a joy to visit (Blossom, not so much).  Of particular note was Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s spectacular performance of Liszt’s Todtentanz in the aftermath of a driving thunderstorm at Blossom.  But the most memorable event for me was the exploration of Sony’s 41 CD (plus 1 DVD) boxed set of Vladimir Horowitz at Carnegie Hall – performances spanning 1943-1978.  The term “astonishing” simply does not do justice to a series of performances that demonstrate that virtuosity and musicality are not opposing virtues.  Also on the piano front, my friend Zsolt Bognár’s recording was issued to widespread acclaim.

I seldom go to movies anymore – unless the item is either unique, or spectacular enough to warrant the cost of a ticket.  Two movies: Star Trek Into Darkness, and Man of Steel, were profoundly disappointing entries in franchises I’ve known and loved over the decades.

For me, the year was busy, with both difficulty and success on the personal front. 

My quest to get myself into better shape was stymied by chronic back troubles and a pinched nerve.  Yet I continued a basic routine of 30 minutes on the elliptical machine – five times per week – to promote cardiovascular health – and that combined with my diet prevented me from gaining weight. 

Toward the end of the year, I received some good news: a substantial promotion at work.  The flip side is that this will make even more demands on my time – which has already resulted in a falloff of my blog entries.  But I’ll still post from time to time.

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