10 things you need to know today: February 7, 2014

Summary for today … 2/7/14! All here!

The Fifth Column

The Week

The Senate fails to restore jobless benefits, the Sochi Winter Olympics get started, and more

1. Jobless benefits extension stalls in the Senate
The Senate failed Thursday to move ahead with a bill that would have restored jobless benefits for the nation’s more than 1.3 million long-term unemployed. Fifty-nine senators voted to advance the bill — one short of the number needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Republicans weren’t satisfied with how Democrats proposed to pay for the $6 billion cost of the three-month extension, a key part of President Obama’s stimulus plan. [The New York Times]

2. The Sochi Olympics start quietly ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony
The Sochi Winter Olympics got off to a low key start on Thursday, with the start of some qualifying events a day ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony. Despite fears of a terrorist attack and controversy over Russia’s…

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At the end of the day …..


~~February 6, 2014~~ 


Vincent Willem van Gogh (Dutch: 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a post-Impressionist painter of Dutch origin whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found). His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.

Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.


Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers, traveling between The HagueLondon and Paris, after which he taught for a time in England at Isleworth and Ramsgate. One of his early aspirations was to become a pastor and from 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium where he began to sketch people from the local community.

In 1885, he painted his first major work The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later, he moved to the south of France and was influenced by the strong sunlight he found there. His work grew brighter in color, and he developed the unique and highly recognizable style that became fully realized during his stay in Arles in 1888.

The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticize his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of illness.

According to art critic Robert Hughes, Van Gogh’s late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and “longing for concision and grace.”

Vincent van Gogh

A mid to late 30s man gazing to the left with a green coat, gray tie and wearing a straw hat

Birth name Vincent Willem van Gogh
Born 30 March 1853
Zundert, Netherlands
Died 29 July 1890 (aged 37)
Field Painting, drawing
Training Anton Mauve
Movement Post-Impressionism
Works Starry NightSunflowersBedroom in ArlesPortrait of Dr. Gachet,Sorrow

Starry Night is a painting by the Dutch post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. Painted in June 1889, it depicts the view outside of his sanitarium room window at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (located in southern France) at night, although it was painted from memory during the day. It has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, part of the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, since 1941. The painting is among Van Gogh’s most well-known works and marks a decisive turn towards greater imaginative freedom in his art.

Art and music go together in soothing the soul. They unite people ….. they inspire! 


Don McLean – Vincent ( Starry, Starry Night) With Lyrics


Uploaded on Aug 27, 2009

Don McLean’s Vincent (Starry,Starry Night)

Almost all images created by Vincent Van- Gogh. Song by Don McLean



The words and imagery of this song represent the life, work, and death of Vincent Van Gogh. A Starry Night is one of the Dutch impressionist’s most famous paintings.

The lyrics, “Paint your palette blue and gray” reflect the prominent colors of the painting, and are probably a reference to Vincent’s habit of sucking on or biting his paintbrushes while he worked. The “ragged men in ragged clothes” and “how you tried to set them free” refer to Van Gogh’s humanitarian activities and love of the socially outcast as also reflected in his paintings and drawings. “They would not listen/They did not know how” refers to Van Gogh’s family and some associates who were critical of his kindness to “the wretched.”

“How you suffered for your sanity” refers to the schizophrenic disorder from which Van Gogh suffered. 


McLean told The Daily Telegraph February 24, 2010 the story of this song: “In the autumn of 1970 I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms. I was sitting on the veranda one morning, reading a biography of Van Gogh, and suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn’t crazy. He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of ‘crazy’ – because he was rejected by a woman [as was commonly thought]. So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag.”

McLean was going through a dark period when he wrote this song. He explained to The Daily Telegraph: “I was in a bad marriage that was torturing me. I was tortured. I wasn’t as badly off as Vincent was, but I wasn’t thrilled, let’s put it that way.”

This song, and Van Gogh’s painting, reflect what it’s like to be misunderstood. Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” after committing himself to an asylum in 1889. He wrote that night was “more richly colored than the day,” but he couldn’t go outside to see the stars when he was committed, so he painted the night sky from memory.

Talking about the song on the UK show Songbook, McLean said: “It was inspired by a book. And it said that it was written by Vincent’s brother, Theo. And Theo also had this illness, the same one Van Gogh had. So what caused the idea to percolate in my head was, first of all, what a beautiful idea for a piece of music. Secondly, I could set the record straight, basically, he wasn’t crazy. But then I thought, well, how do you do this? Again, I wanted to have each thing be different.

I’m looking through the book and fiddling around and I saw the painting. I said, Wow, just tell the story using the color, the imagery, the movement, everything that’s in the painting. Because that’s him more than he is him.

One thing I want to say is that music is like poetry in so many ways. You have wit and drama and humor and pathos and anger and all of these things create the subtle tools that an artist, a stage artist, a good one, uses. Sadly, this has really gone out of music completely. So it makes someone like me a relic, because I am doing things and people like me are doing things that utilize all the classic means of emotional expression.”


We ALL are connected through MUSIC!!
We ALL are ONE!!