The Cafe for September

Here are some links to get the ideas swirling in your brain. Perhaps one of these will give you a great idea for a dance or a painting...or maybe it will just be a diversion with a few interesting links.

September birthstone: sapphire

Did you know that, chemically, sapphires and rubies are exactly the same? They are forms of a stone called corundum. A ruby is a corundum that is colored some shade of red, but not too pink. All other corundums, no matter what their color, are sapphires. Blue corundums are considered to be the prettiest sapphires, and are therefore the most popular and expensive shade. If a corundum is pinkish-orange in color, it’s called a padparadscha, from the Sanskrit words for the color of a lotus flower.

You may have seen star sapphires, like the one above right, that look like they have a glowing white star in the middle of them. This is an effect called asterism, and it is caused by another mineral in the stone. The crystals of that mineral, rutile, are long, thin and arranged parallel to each other inside the stone. When light passes through the cut stone, it’s refracted into the shape of a star. So while star sapphires are considered impure because of the rutile inclusions, they are very beautiful and prized in their own right.

And hey, one more factoid for your artists: rutile is one of the most common sources of the white pigment used in titanium white paint!


September flower: aster

September is full of stars! Besides the star sapphires we mentioned above, the flower for the month of September is the aster. The name, of course, comes from the Latin word for star because of the flower head’s shape. There are about six hundred different types of asters found all over the world. In ancient times, people believed that burning the leaves of asters would drive away snakes. It was once customary to lay asters on the graves of soldiers to acknowledge that their memories would endure over time.


There are plenty of people out there who bang on things all the time to see what kind of noise they make. To my wife’s chagrin, I’m one of them. But I don’t know of too many people who have gone this far:

And then there’s violinist and composer Jon Rose, who makes music with the fence along the U.S./Mexico border:

Mr. Rose has made a whole career recently out of musical fences. Below he performs a duet with Hollis Taylor on a wire fence.


Satirist Mike Hadley (above), from Minneapolis, makes some great videos about the goofier aspects of the Christian culture. We especially like this one (“Tomlin, Tomlin, Brewster, Crowder, Hillsong, Brewster, Brewster, Tomlin… Tomlin!”):


DeAnna Putnam, belly dancer and Master of Divinity (wow, there’s a combination!), has written an extremely interesting article about the history of dance in the Bible. She looks at what the different Hebrew and Greek terms used in the Biblical texts actually tell us about the context and style of dance in the times of Moses, David and Jesus:


Steve Carroll is a local musician from Forest Falls who appeared at our Christian Songwriters’ Showcase in July 2009. Here’s a video clip of Steve performing his song “Fall” at the Monrovia Coffee Company:


One of the better bands on Southern California's Christian rock scene in the late 1980s was The Reign. Fronted by Harold Bloemendaal, the band played a good number of concerts around the Southland and released one excellent album, “Back from Euphoria”, before calling it quits in 1989. This past August, the band decided to reunite for a one-off concert celebrating the album’s 20th anniversary. That stupendous concert was filmed and recorded for an upcoming CD/DVD release, due this fall. We don’t have any footage of that show yet, but here’s the band playing “Cold Desert Wind” at the Redlands Bowl back in the day (Rock of Love, 1989; thanks to John Smeby):


And, to close out with a giggle, here’s some creativity applied to safety gear:

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