What rhymes with “long-lived”?

Though my answer to the question I have yet to ask remains hopefully optimistic, I shall ask it, nevertheless.

Q: Am I the only speaker of English on this planet left clinging precariously to the proper pronunciation of the hyphenated adjective, long-lived; is there no one left with the necessary, minimal skill in the use of logic to recognize that this word is not a form of the hyphenated verb long-live as in “Long live the King”, but rather the adjective form of the noun long-life, the pronunciation of which is changed only by moving the lower lip inward, thereby changing the f-sound to a v-sound? (I would not be surprised to learn that someone in the last few minutes read {rhymes with red} my words and being impressed with their new-found reasoning skills, determined that the corrected pronunciation was now long-lifid,  similar in sound to long –livid whatever that must mean). I’d accept long –livid as a word describing how I felt last month while listening to the Dean of a local college make this mistake from the podium or thirty minutes ago while listening to a local newscaster commit a major broadcasting error by mispronouncing three well-known Spanish words, an affront to half of the citizens in the state of Arizona and New Mexico.

Half a century ago, logic was still being taught in the First elementary grade. I am referring to the linguistic science of phonetics. Today it is replaced by sight-reading. The logical way of learning to read was phased out as children learned in that same first grade, how to use the computer. This kind of reading requires no skills in logic, though for techies in-training there may be a class called Logic 101. There will be no logic required however, to master the tools taught in this class. Today our children are no longer taught HOW to think. They have been trained in WHAT to think. A little late for the Orwellian forewarning of Skinner Box Citizenry but just in time for the new era of worldwide whateveritism introduced by the self-elected nobodies who have been sitting on their but-but-butts in many major metropolies including those in the USA, moaning and groaning about those in charge of their care and feeding while expecting the Rich to purge themselves.  Goodbye America. Hello Bulimia.

Love Is.

The measure of one’s Courage is roughly equal to the presence of one’s Fear. I’d like to add that Courage has nothing to do with Being Strong. Courage arises always as a response to Love. The experience of Love is not of the Natural World but of the Supernatural. It is however, always there for the asking (or affirming), on a moment’s notice.

We can experience Love by acknowledging and accepting it or by performing loving acts of kindness.

I believe Love to be the most healing, calming Power known to human-kind. Individual will power can be helpful in solving everyday problems; however when coupled with and bolstered by Love we humans are an awesome species as are the rest of the world’s critters who apparently need no one to point these things out to them.

To those whose primary line of defense is to be Strong, expect disappointments.

In the presence of Love, Fear dies. In the presence of folded arms Fear lurks in the shadows until the arms become tired.

Look around any room full of people during an emotional presentation. Many of the men will have their arms folded over their chest. Many of these will be overweight. I am a member of both groups. My most familiar first line of defense in an emotionally charged event has been for many years, to react emotionally. I sometimes become sarcastic, perhaps raise my voice. If I am trying to be tolerant I salute the occasion with folded arms. Perhaps then I will remember to stop and make an affirmation, recognizing the Power and the instantaneous availability of Love. Though I don’t always remember to affirm Love, these affirmations are gradually becoming my new, first line of defense.

I am seventy-two years old. I’ve been reading success books all my life; and now I am writing one. This post will be the introduction to that book. Love will make it so.

Richard Dawkins on Space

Science has taught us, against all intuition, that apparently solid things like crystals and rocks, are really almost entirely composed of empty space. And the familiar illustration is the nucleus of an atom is a fly in the middle of a sports stadium, and the next atom is in the next sports stadium. So it would seem the hardest, densest, solidest rock is really almost entirely empty space broken only by tiny particles so widely spaced they shouldn’t count. Why then do rocks look and feel solid, and hard, and impenetrable? As an evolutionary biologist, I’d say this: our brains have evolved to help us survive within the orders of magnitude of size and speed which our bodies operate at. We never evolved to navigate in the world of atoms. If we had, our brains probably would perceive rocks as full of empty space. Rocks feel hard and impenetrable to our hands precisely because objects like rocks and hands cannot penetrate each other. It’s therefore useful for our brains to construct notions like solidity and impenetrability because such notions help us to navigate our bodies through the middle-sized world in which we have to navigate. Moving to the other end of the scale our ancestors never had to navigate thought he cosmos at speeds close to the speed of light. If they had our brains would be much better at understanding Einstein.

— Richard Dawkins, spoken at TED Conference

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

THE LAST OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS

Kamal Amin, Architect, Structural Engineer

It was at the little cabaret theater at Taliesin West.  The fellowship was gathering for the weekly social event, when Mr. and Mrs. Wright  had dinner, and saw a movie with the The first time I saw Mr. Wright, was on a Saturday evening in November of 1951.  apprentices. Everyone was dressed up for the occasion, and we stood waiting for the Wrights to walk into the theater.

I had been an apprentice for slightly over a day, largely preoccupied with becoming acquainted with my new environment.  I had learned English in high school as a second language, but I never had a reason or a chance to use it until I came to America.

I was about to see for the first time the man who had inhabited my mind and soul for the previous three years, while I lived in Cairo.  With the many layers of anticipations and expectation I had projected on him, he had become something of an abstraction that I clung to in order to retain my sense of myself.

As I laid my eyes on him when he walked into the theater, I was looking at a very handsome, imposing figure, with an interesting face, framed in his famous mane of white hair. He looked at me with kind eyes and a warm smile, and asked me if I was comfortable in my new surroundings.

The following eight years constituted my period of apprenticeship and association with the greatest architect of all time.  Like my fellow apprentices, I learned my craft by living and working in the company of genius. My day started, progressed and ended in a pervasive atmosphere of creativity and strong beliefs.  I learned from him, simply by being close to him, walking the same earth and breathing the same air.  When I heard him speak, it was like listening to the voice of the ages. He possessed a sense of eternal wisdom, which included the present moment in the progression of history. He was a cosmos unto himself, much like a natural force, which received its instructions from an intangible universe.

The most precious moments for me, were the times he came to my desk, gently moved me over, shared my seat with me, and worked on my drawing.

Magic sprang out of his hands, as he moved them swiftly and decisively, enhancing the complexion of the design.  The statements, instructions and comments he made to me then, remain engraved in my sensibilities.

One late morning on another Saturday, eight years after the Saturday I first met Mr. Wright, he was standing at my desk discussing with me and instructing me as I was working on a spectacular residence he had designed to be built on three adjacent peaks on Mummy Mountain, in Paradise Valley, for Mrs. Daniel Donahoe of Texas.  He had already signed off on the design, but in vintage Mr. Wright, the building is finished only after it had been built.  It was about noon, after an hour or so of work. Then  Mrs. Wright breezed in the drafting room and said,“Frank, it is time for lunch.” And asked him to accompany her.

Later on that evening, being a Saturday, we, all dressed up, waited outside the theater for Mr. and Mrs. Wright to arrive for the evening event.

The wait was longer than usual. Then someone came to tell us that Mr. Wright was taken to the hospital to be operated on, having had severe abdominal pains during the afternoon.

The news was particularly shocking for me, since I was just working with him a few hours earlier. He was ninety two years old, but he was very healthy.  According to his doctor, he had the vital signs of a forty five year old.  I remember times when I needed to run to catch up with him. I expected him to return in a few days.  But a few days later, my good friend Davy Davison, walked to my tent at five o’clock in the morning, I had just awakened, and  said,

“Mr. Wright is gone.”

The news was so devastating to me that it actually threw me off center.

Observing my devastation, Mrs. Wright asked me to tend his grave, mow the lawn, plant the flowers, and generally care for the environment around him.

She came to visit her husband’s grave almost every day. We knelt by the stone circle around it and shared some soulful moments, as we snipped off dead blossoms in order to preserve energy for new growth.

It was during that period that I realized that I was tending the grave of one of the founding fathers of this country.  I was making an in depth study of the history of the United States, and discovering that it is the most interesting and fascinating of all time. The more I read of it, the more I could see that Mr. Wright’s cultural contribution was an organic growth of what this country was all about.

He was born eighty years after the constitutional convention in Philadelphia.

During those eighty years, there were the Federalist Papers, eighty five essays published by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, in order to promote the ratification of the constitution.  Then there was the Marshal Court, which rendered the decisions that started the process of defining the intent of the constitution, as a basis for establishing the different institutions of the country. Then there was the challenge of the war of 1812, which Andrew Jackson brought to a spectacular American victory against the finest British troops in the battle of New Orleans, forcing Britain to recognize the United States claim to Louisiana and west Florida. Then there was the crisis of nullification of tariffs, spear(-) headed by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, 9and) then the senate Force Act introduced by Daniel Webster. Then there was the Henry Clay compromise which averted conflict for a time. That was followed by the civil war and reconstruction.

By then, America was on her way to becoming a global force.

What was sorely lacking was an aesthetic identity which sprang from the soil of this country expressing the uniqueness of the ideas and forces which converged for the first time in history, to create this society. The prevailing aesthetic was borrowed from classically feudal cultures which the idea of America was intended to resist. In the country’s capital, Washington DC, government functions were and largely remain unceremoniously trapped in Greek or Roman temples.

The monumental efforts made by many during the first eighty years of the life of this country, eventually established a structure upon which, this society was built.  The work was focused on the survival of the country. But the soul of the republic needed to emerge, in order to express in a tangible way, the meaning of the inner freedom of every American citizen, as an independent mind.

Two years after the civil war, Frank Lloyd Wright was born, on a farm in Wisconsin.  It was the signal that an American aesthetic was about to be created.  As a hard working young man, then a young architect in Chicago, the spirit of America, from the Declaration of Independence, through the many events which highlighted the dignity of the individual, were natural components of his make up.  Some time in his youth, he decided that he had a part to play in the realization of the dream which is America.

Very quickly he saw himself as the instrument needed for this unique culture to blossom into a visual expression defining its intent as a way of life.

The way to do that was to become an architect, whose contribution was to enhance God’s work, by building structures springing from and belonging to the soil supporting this culture.

For seventy years of practice, against the overwhelming habitual sentiments of the herd instincts, he did accomplish his purpose, and made a contribution which helped to define America. The five hundred buildings he built stand on God’s earth declaring the sovereignty of the individual.  By simply doing his work, he gave permission to architects across the twentieth century to explore every conceivable structure.  There would not have been twentieth century architecture without him

That was the second Declaration of Independence.

 

 

Letters

Kamal  Amin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5  5 February 2012

 

Greetings to my BIA* Kamal Amin, Architect, Author and fellow Desert Rat:

Dear Kamal, when I read Reflections From the Shining Brow I said to myself, “So this is what we’ve been talking about on those weekend jaunts in the desert.” When your story reached the point in 1977 describing how you started your practice by taking a desk in the office of a mutual friend, this was the beginning of yours and my friendship.

When I read Excursions I said to myself, “So this is what Kamal has been encouraging me to do.” It has since become for me, a reference book and an extension of our friendship. This book was less of a surprise as we talked about it during its creation.

When I read Women of the Nile, I immediately recognized snatches of familiar conversations from our thirty-five year friendship. After spending an hour or so getting to know Golmar, I returned to the first page. I imagined that you and I were seated on a bench in Tahrir Square in Cairo in early December of 2010. The Arab Spring was but a murmur; the Awakening just begun. You were telling me a story of three women and the historical events that defined their lives. And though these women were invented by you I recognized much of their stories.

I chose to read the book aloud. It took less than four hours, lapsing occasionally into silent mode but returning quickly to the spoken word the moment I became aware that my mind was drifting. That happened only twice. This book is written in your conversational style and is very easy to read.

If someone offered me an opportunity to share with them my unique experience with this beautifully written set of stories and the drama of thousands of years of eclectic Egyptian history, I would be inclined to tell them “By all means see the film. But be sure to read Kamal’s written account first.” There will be a film, Kamal. There must be a film.

Thank you my brother,

Lee.

*Brother In Arms.

 

 

Thank you Lee

This is a wonderful letter to receive. You really are a friend in arms.

I was wondering which part you would take in the film. Perhaps you can be Ibrahim Shukry, the man who had the harem,

You probably would like that.

Best

Kamal

 

 

.

 

Another Chapter in the Life of Kamal Amin

I have owned more than a dozen profitable businesses in the development of my career. I have even owned several that were not profitable. All required planning; at least I assumed that to be the case. And in every instance I worked very long hours during the birthing of a business; always, the first pieces of furniture in that office or in that retail store would be a screen (unless there was more than one room) and a cot. There I would sleep a few hours at night and use the other eighteen hours to carve out a workspace, type and mail press releases, arrange for advertising and to call upon every other business in the immediate community, personally inviting the management and their employees for the pre-planned grand opening. I’d do these things until prevented from doing so by the arrival of my first customer, client or curiosity seeker.

In 1977 I would learn of another approach to building a business relationship with my public.

I had met Kamal Amin early in this particular year and we rapidly became friends. We knew many of the same people, traveled in the same circles; he even leased an apartment near mine and we often had morning coffee together or afternoon tea. Kamal told me one day that he was ready to leave Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship and was prepared to greet the world as an self employed Architect, apparently oblivious of empty pockets, and prepared to do great things.

Kamal had bought an inexpensive automobile from the back lot of a new car dealership owned by a mutual friend. This particular back lot was where the unsalable trade-ins sat until they were sold to smaller dealers like Honest John’s Miracle Car Lot.(“ If it run’s it’s a miracle”)   Honest John had apparently left this car to be the first of several miracles that would engage my new  friend in the fruits of future labors.

What funds were left after leasing the apartment and buying this recently abandoned relic from the streets of Scottsdale, were used to rent a corner in a friend’s office furnished only with a chair, a desk and a phone. Every day Kamal Amin dressed himself in a conservative Washington DC suit.  Every day Kamal Amin sat at his desk. Kamal Amin sat at this desk for two weeks, waiting.  And waiting. And waiting some more.

Until today I had never known of anyone taking such an approach to business success. And on this very day I borrowed from The Scottsdale Civic Center Library, a book written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson called REWORK which details a rationale describing this very same approach to earning one’s daily bread, an approach which has for more than three decades been the secret of success to one of this world’s greatest designers of personal and corporate spaces, a man whose work is known in his profession worldwide, Kamal Amin, the mild-mannered Architect from Fountain Hills, from Scottsdale and from Cairo a man who on paper at least, can move mountains.

The evidence of the success of Kamal Amin’s attitude toward the manifestation of more than two decades of training bore fruit one morning as the phone rang with an invitation to bid on a job in the Texas Hill Country, The next day Kamal flew to Texas to meet with a member of the Hunt family. Mr. Amin has been busy developing his career ever since. Never to my knowledge has he planned a thing. Kamal Amin’s life appears to have been one glorious surprise after another. And though I have not learned as much from Kamal Amin as did he from Mr. Wright, I feel as though I have learned much more.

Today, two old men begin new careers. Each of us, Kamal Amin and Lee Broom spend most of our time writing. Kamal has three books published. I have two completes and five in progress, none of them published. Oddly enough my first business was a publishing company.

Kamal Amin’s life challenges are described in Reflections from the Shining Brow. His essays and musings are sprinkled throughout the pages of his second book entitled Excursions. Tomorrow I will publish a letter I wrote to Kamal expressing my reaction to his latest book, a work which uses the lives of three fictitious Egyptian women whose stories chronicle the history of their Country. I was captivated by these three WOMEN OF THE NILE. I learned more about Egyptian society in four hours than I have in a lifetime.

Just Plain Kamal

One day  in 1977 a friend of mine, Linda Brock (I used to call her Linda Volkswagen- She called me Leebroom as though my firstandlastname were all one word) entered the front door of my shop with a man who looked familiar but for the moment at least, unknown to me.  I thought to myself that he was her sales manager; she obviously wanted to sell me a Porsche that I’d taken for a spin recently; she was “following up” as they say in sales meetings everywhere. Hmm. No, this man was wearing a hand tailored Seville Row DC suit. Only a few men on the planet dressed like this.

“Hello Linda Volkswagen, was ist los?”

“Hello Leebroom, I am bringing you a friend of mine that I’d like very much for you to meet. Say ‘Hello’ to Kamal Amin (she spoke his name clearly).”  I offered my hand. A firm grip and two quick up and down shakes. Everything about this man except for his accent reminded me of my Broom family Uncles, gentlemen all, and very much a dying breed.

“Mr. Amin. I’m happy to meet you sir.”

“M, M, Mr. Leebroom, I am delighted to meet you also. How do you do sir?”

Outwardly, I ignored the slight stammer, which itself was familiar to me “Very well, thank you. You look familiar to me Mr. Amin. And, I’d be happy to hear you call me simply, Lee.”

“I can do that Simplylee.” The three of us laughed. “And you sir, may call me Just plain Kamal.”

“Thank you, Just Plain Kamal.” We all laughed again.

And that is how I met my friend, my brother, a man uninterested in the greedy side of life, an artist of many talents, the greatest of which I would soon realize was architecture and yes, I did know him from my many visits to Taliesin West.

I will write more about him this week and on Friday I will publish a short biographical insight as written by my friend, Kamal Amin; there will be a sharing of memories  and his relationship with the greatest architect of our time, Frank Lloyd Wright.