It Is What It Is

Dr. Rex …. Blogging for change.

It Is What It Is

At the end of the day …. The Piano Guys Series #5!

~~April 13, 2014~~

The Piano Guys are an American musical group consisting of Jon SchmidtSteven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson, and Al van der Beek. They gained popularity through YouTube, where they posted piano and cello renditions of popular songs and classical music. Schmidt and Nelson’s music is accompanied by professional-quality videos shot and edited by Paul Anderson. 


Hailing from UtahThe Piano Guys became an Internet sensation by way of their immensely successful series of strikingly original self-made music videos. They’ve made over 35 since joining forces in early 2011, including their hit video, an innovative 10-handed version of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” But it’s the Guys’ highly original blend of classical music with pop that has really been the cause of an Internet phenomenon that has brought them to their major label debut album, The Piano Guys, released on Sony Masterworks.

In the last few months, The Piano Guys have performed on everywhere from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” to “The Today Show” and “Katie.”  One of their videos –  “Mission Impossible” – featuring YouTube violin sensation Lindsey Stirling, continues to build momemtum with over 1.5M views in a month.

It finds the band and Stirling in a spy thriller as covert operatives while playing their unique take on this famous musical theme.

(You will soon see the “Mission Impossible” video featured here).

The album features more of the imaginative mash-up arrangements that The Piano Guys are already famous for, including sources ranging from Michael Jackson to Mozart, The Bourne Identity to David Guetta. It also includes an original song and innovative takes on hits by One Direction, Adele and Christina Perri.


~~Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts (Piano/Cello Cover)~~


~~Uploaded on Feb 27, 2012~~

~~Story behind the song~~

Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson were booked for a Piano Guys show in Hawaii. How could we resist filming our next video in the land of Aloha — beautiful beaches, green mountains, and fresh pineapple??

We went to our Founders and Facebook fans to ask what song they wanted us to play there. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was the nearly-unanimous response. But you know how we are … we couldn’t “just” do this tune by itself … so in the studio we found a made-in-heaven match-up in the timeless melody from the Shaker Hymn “Simple Gifts” written in the 1800’s (also used by Aaron Copland in his Ballet “Appalachian Spring”).

We feel it’s an especially appropriate mash-up because of our profound love and respect for the Hawaiian culture — a people who are so good at finding happiness in simplicity. As you probably could hear we borrowed a lot of ideas from Iz’s version which has become the stuff of legend. This arrangement is, in part, a tribute to him.

Getting a piano onto a sandy beach and then onto a big hill in a famous ranch within the SAME day (we only had 8 hours to film) was no small feat. The only thing harder would be to be predict Hawaiian weather, which ended up being our biggest challenge.

“We had a little extra help on this one. My mother, Lynne Sanders Nelson — a main source of my inspiration for pursuing music — passed away early in life from the effects of a brain tumor. She was an incredibly-gifted musician and taught me to play music passionately rather than just playing ‘notes’ on a page. ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ was one of her favorite songs. We finished this arrangement on what would have been her 70th birthday. Somehow she helped. I miss her so very much, but when I play songs like this I feel like I get to be with her again. This song is dedicated to her.”
Steven Sharp Nelson

Thank you so much to the Kualoa Ranch who bent over backwards last-minute for us and provided us such a beautiful place to shoot. Visit their site at — when you visit Hawaii be sure to stop by and take a tour — its where dozens of huge blockbluster movies/tv shows have been filmed.

This song is dedicated to
Lynne Sanders Nelson, The Hill Family, J. Mueller, & the people of Hawaii

We ALL are connected through MUSIC!! 

We ALL are ONE!!

The tale of “Sunder” …. an abused elephant!!


~~April 13, 2014~~


Thanks to all of YOUR help, court passes landmark decision to free Sunder from 6 long years of being chained and beaten.


Sunder is 14 years old, a young juvenile boy, and has spent the past six years chained inside a dismal shed at a temple in Kolhapur. His previous mahout (handler) grossly abused him, and Sunder bears the scars to prove it. He now has a new mahout, with whom the Animal Rahat vets have made it a top priority to try to develop a good rapport, but the mahout, believe it or not, is afraid of Sunder and has never taken him off the chains, not even for a walk.

The temple authorities resisted giving the Rahat team access to Sunder, but they were able to succeed through a combination of Dr. Sudheesh’s impressive military credentials and because one of Animal Rahat’s ambulance drivers is related to a priest in the temple.

It’s all about who you know!

After examining Sunder, Rahat’s vets determined that he was anemic and dehydrated and has proptosis (bulging) of one of his eyes, probably because of head trauma, most likely from being severely beaten for being mischievous as a youngster.

Thanks to the support of caring people like you, there is hope for the first time ever for Sunder, and time is of the essence.

If Animal Rahat does not get him proper care now, he will suffer unimaginably when he goes into musth (breeding rage). Vets have embarked on a solid plan to improve Sunder’s living conditions — the immediate priorities are to get him out of his dark and damp enclosure, establish a decent watering system, get the mahout to walk him daily, and improve the amount and quality of his food.

What Animal Rahat will ultimately try to do is get him away from there, but that mountain is a high one to climb.



MUMBAI: On Monday, April 2014, during a Bombay high court hearing, Peta’s lawyers Shiraz Rustomjee and Rohan Rajadhyaksha presented finding by elephant experts Dr. EK Easwaran, assistant director, department of animal husbandry, Kerala and Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar, senior veterinary officer, Wildlife SOS-India who visited 14-year-old elephant Sunder on February 19 and argued that Sunder is being kept so harshly chained that he’s unable to lie down.

The findings showed that Sunder is displaying signs of severe frustration and mental distress through constant head wobbling, swaying and other abnormal repetitive movements. As per the report and evidence submitted to the court, Sunder was displaying aggressive behavior only towards his own mahout, Hyder, and no aggression towards other people during the inspection, indicating that Sunder feels threatened by his own mahout.

Sunder is at the center of a case in which PETA is calling for the animal’s release to a sanctuary. 


Member of legislative assembly Vinay Kore donated Sunder to Jyotiba temple in 2007, and the elephant has been kept chained since then.

In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that Sunder’s mahout violently beat him with a pole near a poultry shed where he had been moved at the behest of Kore.

That same month, the high court of Bombay ordered Sunder’s transfer to a sanctuary, but he is yet to be released by principal chief conservator of forests Sarjan Bhagat. Kore and the Kolhapur division of the forest department claimed this is because Sunder is in musth (a period of heightened sexual urge, which can make captive bull elephants aggressive from frustration) and cannot be transported. 

However, the recent experts’ report clarified that Sunder is not showing signs of normal musth condition, but ‘moda’ (adolescent) musth, and pointed out that Sunder can be transported to a sanctuary and that he should be, to avoid further damage to his mental status. The report also confirmed that Sunder’s current housing facilities are grim and do not even meet the minimum basic standards. 


Sunder is denied everything that is natural and important to him and lives in fear.


Principal Chief Conservator of Forests SWH Naqvi has still not transferred Sunder, a 14-year-old elephant who had been chained for years at the Jyotiba Temple in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra, to the sanctuary in Karnataka that has been identified for him by PETA – despite Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam’s order calling for Sunder’s release. Naqvi has the responsibility to follow the Minister’s order but seems to lack the will to do so. It is thought that Sunder has been hidden by temple authorities in a dark, heavily guarded poultry shed behind a dairy facility.

Sunder has been denied freedom of movement, and on the rare occasions when he was taken for a short walk at the temple, he was kept in spiked chains. Because of the abusive treatment at the hands of his mahout, Sunder was found by PETA with wounds all over his body and a damaged eye.

Elephants are highly intelligent and social animals. In nature, they spend around 18 hours a day walking, feeding, bathing in watering holes and interacting with other elephants, and females live in close-knit family groups for life.

Elephants held in captivity are separated from their families as babies and are sentenced to a lifetime of confinement, boredom, loneliness and abuse.

Temple elephant Sunder chained up in his shed at Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.  Scars can be seen on the animal's legs, caused by the chains. Abuse of the elephant prompted Sir Paul McCartney to write to the Indian government demanding the animal be set free.

Constantly kept in chains, many exhibit signs of mental illness, including repetitive swaying, rocking and head-bobbing. The chains also cause painful wounds and pressure sores, which often become infected. The lack of exercise and the years spent standing on hard concrete amid their own waste lead to painful and crippling foot ailments and arthritis. The severe confinement has led Sunder to act out in frustration, creating a risk for temple authorities and visitors.

Please help PETA in urging authorities to immediately transfer Sunder to the sanctuary in Karnataka that has been identified for him by PETA.

~~Written by PETA~~

Renowned Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal has donated two billboards to PETA India calling for the release of an abused 14-year-old elephant named Sunder. PETA India is seeking Sunder’s rescue via a case in the High Court of Bombay.

One of the billboards has been placed in Nagpur, the site of the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sarjan Bhagat, and the other in Kolhapur, where Member of the Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore is based.


Kore donated Sunder to the Jyotiba temple in 2007, and the elephant has been kept chained and inside dark sheds for most of that time. In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that Sunder’s mahout violently beat him with a pole near a poultry shed where he had been moved at the behest of Kore.

 That same month, the High Court of Bombay ordered Sunder’s transfer to a sanctuary, but he has yet to be released by Bhagat. The actor has also offered to donate a life-size statue of an elephant to the Jyotiba temple in exchange for transferring Sunder to a sanctuary as identified by PETA. He added that the statue would allow devotees to “pay tribute to Lord Ganesha and honor all elephants, including Sunder“.


Joining Rampal in his call for Sunder’s release have been Amitabh BachchanMadhuri DixitR MadhavanRaveena Tandon and many other top celebrities as well as more than one lakh people, who have signed PETA India’s online petition.

You can help #Free Sunder. Take action today.



~~Bombay High Court orders Sunder’s release~~


~~Published on Apr 7, 2014~~

The Bombay High Court has ordered the release of Sunder the elephant into a sanctuary. 14-year-old Sunder who has been in captivity and was kept chained inside a dark shed at a Temple in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra for seven years will finally be free from the torture.

The Bombay High Court asks authorities to implement a state government order to release Sunder into the wild that was issued in August 2012.

We ALL are connected through NATURE!!


We ALL are ONE!! 


We ALL are connected through HUMANITY!!


I Cried As I Read This

My dear Terry …. glad you accepted!! Well deserved!!

Who I am  Dr. Rex has nominated me for an award. One that I have never heard of but when I read about it I started thinking about Al and his life.

The award is called the Seed of Light award.

seed-of-light-award11I began to instantly look back at the seed that began to live on May 3rd, 1955. On that day a baby boy was born. I have no photos of what he looked like when he was a baby so I have always used my imagination.

One baby boy born into innocence. One baby boy tossed aside for being mentally challenged. How does a child grow up in a world when he has been kicked by a term other than normal.

It doesn’t matter what the story was, or who said what, or even how it began. What matters is how he learned, what he learned and what did he take…

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Lioness, wounded by buffalo, saved

Awesome story here!! There are some who care!! Goodness …. Yes!

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from Kenya says about itself:

9 April 2014

Early on 4th April, a call was received from Governor’s Camp in the Maasai Mara about an injured lioness. She had a deep, open wound on her lower left flank, the result of an encounter with a buffalo.

The DSWT immediately launched its SkyVets Initiative; collecting a Kenya Wildlife Service Veterinarian and flying from Nairobi to the Mara. Once on the scene, the vet set about darting the lioness, whose wound was extensive.

In an operation that lasted 1 1/2 hrs, throughout which the rest of the pride were kept a safe distance, the vet thoroughly cleaned the wound before suturing it closed. Long lasting anti-biotic drugs were administered, as well as packing the wound with green clay, to speed the healing process. With that, Siena the lioness could rejoin the pride and her cubs.

Working together effectively…

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Animal Awareness Alert~

Great information about Nature in Florida!!

Walking with the Alligators

Florida_Black_BearFDOT        man2
A Florida Black Bear in the Ocala Forest and a Florida Manatee mother and baby
Black Bear picture credit:  FFWCC,  Manatee picture credit:
The Black Bear pictured here was taken in an area quite near our house and according to Wikipedia :
which supports the highest density population of black bears in North America.”

Although Bears and Manatees may not be on your mind at this very moment,  they need to be.

Two animal stories  were on our local news this morning that need to be brought to your attention if you live in Florida.

Like much of the country, it is Spring right now here in Central Florida and a great many of our animals are on the move.

Black Bears everywhere in the state have ceased their hibernation states, short-lived as they were due to the fairly mild winter and have begun roaming into  adjacent areas and neighborhoods in search of food.

Like you…

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10 things you need to know today: April 13, 2014

Find your updated info here … today!

The Fifth Column

A barricade outside the offices of the Ukrainian Security Service in eastern Ukraine A barricade outside the offices of the Ukrainian Security Service in eastern Ukraine Pochuyev Mikhail/ITAR-TASS Photo/Corbis

The Week

The UN says catastrophic climate change can still be affordably averted, Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces engage in deadly clashes, and more.

1. IPCC: Worst-case climate change can still be avoided
The worst-case scenarios of global climate change can still be averted in an affordable manner, according to a United Nations report released Sunday. The report, the third and final installment from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded that a concerted effort to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy would trim global economic output by a slim 0.06 percent. The IPCC called on world leaders to work together, with IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer saying, “Climate policy isn’t a free lunch, but could be lunch that’s worthwhile to buy.” [The GuardianWall…

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Every Day Heroes: Playing For Change

This is awesome!! Thank you for sharing …. I love the group and the concept!! Playing for Change … check it out!!

Mavadelo's mindscape

I think this organization deserves more attention then a blog in a music challenge. So I thought I dedicate a EDH post to them as well introducing some of their most prominent musicians. You can find the founding story right here and here

Grandpa Elliot

Grandpa Elliot

full Bio

PFC Bio (the we in this is of course the PFC crew)

Grandpa has been a New Orleans street icon for decades. His music and comforting presence have touched countless hearts throughout the years. When you think of the French Quarter you think of Grandpa. Many locals and frequent visitors to the Quarter consider Grandpa the saving grace and passionate force behind the revitalization of the city since Hurricane Katrina. His voice reminds us all that music can help the soul persevere through many hardships.
How we met:
Our first trip to New Orleans was in fact a mission…

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