Saturday, February 28, 2009
I have a Jeep Cherokee, which turned out to be the perfect car for someone in my profession. The majority of things I have to haul around are in the form of rectangular solids--furniture or props packed in cartons, lighting control boards, boxes of paint. The Cherokee is a box. It wastes no time or interior space with fancy shapes, like the Taurus with its sides that curve up to the roof, limiting the cargo space and making it impossible to get some things in at all. It’s great for long range driving because it’s comfortable, not too big to park in a city, and has great pick-up even now at it approaches the 200,000 mile mark.
The problem for me began when German auto giant Daimler bought Chrysler and decreed that the Grand Cherokee wasn’t enough, there had to be a second Jeep SUV. After a couple of years in development, the Jeep Liberty (we were still eating Freedom Fries then) was approaching its debut when gas prices started up, severely; SUVs were finally exposed as the gas guzzlers they are and Daimler-Chrysler’s profits began to sink fast. Realizing that they now had too many models on the market, Corporate looked at the situation hard and saw an established, utilitarian, reliable brand versus a newly tooled up factory producing a sexy gas guzzler--they did the logical thing which was to kill the popular, practical Cherokee in favor of yet another SUV.
So that’s my situation as we approach yesterday when I had to go down to Boston with a load of set pieces and props for the production, and see Shostakovich’s brilliant satiric opera The Nose after a short story by Gogol in the evening. Fritz and I had spent the morning doing errands when I stopped the Jeep outside his Center and went to move the control lever from drive to neutral. There was the most awful sound of metal scraping. Moving the lever back didn’t stop the noise, so I shut the car off, waited a couple of minutes and then started it again—no noise and the lever glided through the various options with not so much as grunt. After checking the transmission fluid, I left for Boston more or less on schedule. The trip down, around and back passed wholly without incident, driving and automatically shifting perfectly.
I’ll have it checked out when the rest of the weekend and Monday are behind me because if I don’t, I’ll have nobody to blame but myself for what might happen.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I know I should be used to it by now but at this moment, listening to Barack Obama deliver what is a State of the Union Speech in all but name, it's still a shock to hear an articulate, dynamic, positive and progressive Chief Executive address the nation.
After eight years of Bozo's bumbling, self-justifying, reactionary drivel it's a pleasure to listen to a reasoned and relevant speech addressing and advocating real issues, instead of lies in support of self-serving, disastrous mistakes aimed at creating factionalism, class hatred and cultural warfare. After the long dark years, there is finally--a word I haven't used yet because it has become the great cliche of the Obama phenomenon--there is finally hope.
In the last couple of weeks I have finally fully activated a Facebook page I had established some while ago but whose potential for communication and reconnection I hadn't really explored. I am now in contact on a whole new level with colleagues, former students, relatives, many bloggers, and performing artists whose work I have admired. I'm having a lot of fun with it.
I've also started a page on Inked-up, a site specifically for gay men and lesbians who are tattooed and/or pierced.
I thought the Academy Awards show on Sunday was the best paced and most interesting in many, many years. Having former winners introduce current nominees for the major acting awards honored all of the nominees instead of simply creating one big winner and a bunch of losers. The pathetic, unfunny banter between presenters was gone as were the long, deadly speeches by the president of the Academy and the presenter of the Thalberg Award, that wasn't presented this year.
The only part I didn't like was having the camera swoop in frm shallow angles, zoom and pull back constantly during the memorial part of the evening. It made reading the names of some of the deceased very difficult and I found the device itself annoyingly distracting.
I thought Hugh Jackman was a delight as host and very easy on the eyes and ears, but the great moments were the acceptance speeches by Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn for their work on Milk. Fritz, of course was in tears and I have to say I thought they were both incredibly moving, particularly Black (who, it turns out, enjoys going shirtless a lot) in his heartfelt address to gay and lesbian youth. How fortunate I am to have lived so long to see such eloquent openness on American television!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
On this Academy Awards day, Lewis (Spirit of St. Lewis) informed me that DesignerBlog had gotten one of UrSpo's coveted blog awards, specifically THE award: “Best Blog” for 2008!
Of course, just being nominated along with so many distinguished blogs was award enough. I feel very humble. Thank you! (If only I'd known, I would have sprung for the Dolce & Gabbana tux!)
Follow this link to an inspired piece of lunacy from The Onion, just in case you’re feeling really good about things these days.
This is the second time recently that I’ve gone almost a week between posts. It isn’t for either lack of interest or for lack of life experience. But my attention has been taken by a lot of chores and an upcoming production week--getting a coherent block of time to put out a decent entry has been an elusive goal.
After what we thought was a false start—you may remember the pornographic mushroom shot—the Shiitake kit really took off, producing some big, meaty mushrooms that have gone into omelets and a couple that are going to accompany a London Broil tonight. It looks as if we’ll be putting the block into its “rest” mode for the prescribed ten days after harvesting the last of these and we’ll then hope for a successful start to another growing cycle.
Opera Boston put out its subscription announcement for next season on the Boston Globe’s website late Friday night, prior to it’s appearance in the Saturday print edition. OB has been “the little company that could” since its start in a very savvy merger of the Boston Academy of Music’s opera wing and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project a number of years ago. OB has in some ways violated all the rules by steadfastly refusing to depend on continual repetition of the tried and true, particularly in a troubled economy when many in the audience have to consider carefully where their arts dollars are going to go.
Consistently, those dollars are going to OB—and there certainly are a number of other companies competing in the area. Here’s next season’s line-up, edited slightly from the press release: a premiere and two rarely encountered but top notch operas, with two very major female stars headlining them:
Opera Boston will open its 2009-10 season on Oct. 23 in Cutler Majestic Theatre with a production of Rossini's rarely heard melodrama "Tancredi," with the noted Polish contralto Ewa Podles in the title role. "Tancredi" will be directed by Kristine McIntyre and its cast will also feature soprano Amanda Forsythe and tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan.
In February and March 2010, the company will present the premiere of its newly commissioned opera "Madame White Snake," by the Chinese-American composer Zhou Long. Its libretto, by Brookline-based Cerise Lim Jacobs, adapts the story of a Chinese legend. It will be staged by Robert Woodruff, former artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre, working with Opera Boston for the first time. The cast will be headed by soprano Ying Huang and male soprano Michael Maniaci.
The third and final production of the season will be Offenbach's seldom performed operetta "La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein," with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe making her Boston stage debut in the title role. Music director Gil Rose will conduct the performances of all three operas.
We’re putting together some travel plans for the spring. In April we’ll set out in the Jeep for about a week to visit members of both our families in central New Jersey, Takoma Park just outside Washington D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina. In June, Fritz has a teaching gig in Keystone, up in the mountains west of Denver, and I’m going along. When it’s over, we’ll have a day and a half to see some things in Denver before flying back. If anyone has any recommendations about interesting sites to visit there, all suggestions will be gratefully received. We’ve already heard of one gay bar that looks like it might be interesting.
We may go somewhere in the fall as well, but that’s up in the air as of the moment. Wherever it is, it’s not going to be out of the country this year.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
This is Sam (apparently short for Samantha as she is female), the now world-famous little Australian koala who was pictured in stills and videos being given water by a fireman in the burned out forest. Her paws are bandaged but her burns will heal. She's safe now in an animal shelter where another koala named Bob has been guarding her. They've been virtually inseparable since her arrival.
I think Australia should make this picture into a postage stamp. In this shot where she fills the frame and looks out at the world calmly and steadily, she seems almost heroic. On a stamp, she would travel the world as a symbol of Australia's strength and resilience.
Senator Tom Coburn's little jihad against the arts has failed. Alex Ross posted this on his blog, The Rest is Noise:
From p. 143 of the stimulus bill, which the U.S. Congress passed Friday: "$50,000,000, to be distributed in direct grants to fund arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn." An attempt by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to eliminate all arts and museum funding from the bill was defeated. Ironically, Sen. Coburn is the father of the outstanding young soprano Sarah Coburn, who has appeared many times at opera houses supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Happy Valentine's Day!!
I’ve been looking at patches of ground reappearing as the big thaw continues and we’re both beginning to think about spring planting. But I reminded Fritz that something else is upon us fairly quickly: maple sugar season.
The succession of warmish days and cold nights below freezing has begun, and sap is probably beginning to flow. By this time last year Fritz already had taps in the trees and sap was dripping into five gallon buckets. Possibly this weekend we’ll get the boiler and evaporator out of the barn and set it up by the wood pile.
This, of course, is wishful thinking at best and probably delusional:
Click to enlarge for easier reading of the commands.
The beat, as they say, goes on:
Connecticut Opera closes down, citing bad economy
By DAVE COLLINS – 1 day ago
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Opera has gone out of business after 67 seasons, the latest arts group to fall victim to the economic downturn and sagging charitable donations.
Opera board President Brooks Joslin said Thursday the decision to shut down was made late last week. The opera's bank account was frozen and funding sources had dried up.
The opera closed its Hartford office, laid off its half-dozen staff members and informed its 2,000 subscribers that they won't be getting their money back on two recently canceled springtime productions — "Daughter of the Regiment" in March and "La Boheme" in May.
Orchestras, ballets and opera companies across the country are facing huge deficits. The Los Angeles Opera is laying off 17 people, cutting salaries and will stage fewer performances this year. The Miami City Ballet is cutting eight dancers. The Baltimore Opera has declared bankruptcy.
The nonprofit group Americans for the Arts estimates 10,000 arts organizations could disappear in 2009. [emphasis mine]
Connecticut Opera board Chairman John Kreitler told The Hartford Courant that group is not filing for bankruptcy because that would cost too much. He said opera officials are working with creditors to resolve debts.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Thursday that his office is looking into the opera's shutdown and planned to request financial documents from the organization on Friday.
"The Connecticut Opera, like any nonprofit or profit-making company, has both moral and legal obligations to consumers and contributors," he said. "It makes promises to contributors about how it will use the money that is donated, and it owes the money back if it fails to fulfill those promises. It can't simply walk away from its obligations."
Blumenthal said his office will seek refunds for customers, and look into whether the financial problems were the result of failed good-faith efforts or problems such as mismanagement.
Connecticut Opera had a yearly budget of about $2 million. Ticket prices for its performances ranged from $25 to $100.
[excerpted slightly from the HARTFORD COURANT]
There are a number of worries here above and beyond the termination of performances for the public and the obvious loss of jobs for singers, musicians and theatrical technicians, administrators an artisans. Boston mayor Tom Menino said it very well one time when he was under pressure to knuckle under and replace the classic Fenway Park with one part of a sports megaplex, the other arm of which would be a huge stadium for the New England Patriots, their second brand new stadium in 18 years. Menino said flatly it wasn't what Boston needed, economically speaking.
Menino declared the city needed a performing arts center. Sports fans, he said, come into the city by the T or their cars; they pay their fare or their parking fee, buy five or six beers and a saussage and go home. Theater and opera-goers, on the other hand, come into the city for a weekend, take a hotel room, do a little shopping and sight-seeing, see a couple of performances, have some decent restaurant meals and go home having put some real money into the local economy.
Well, for that he was roundly booed about two weeks later at the send-off rally for the Patriots who were on their way to the Super Bowl. But he was right, and there are enough economic studies backing him up that you wonder, in our money-driven culture, why it's the arts that are the first thing to go when the crunch hits.
Other fallout is that these are old, established, mature companies with experience and community support behind them that are going under; replacing them with start from scratch operations when (if) the economy recovers will be a long, difficult process.
Also, in this era when the arts have been hounded out of our schools, it's the school outreach programs by theater, opera and dance companies, in addition to the local symphony orchestra, that may be the only exposure to the arts young children ever get. No matter what angle you view the current situation from, it's a lose-lose situation.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So, here are the two recipes involved:
Maple Syrup Pie
Pastry for a 1 crust pie
2 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup or more hickory nuts, walnuts or pecans, halves or broken up
Cream the butter, add the syrup slowly, then stir in all of the remaining ingredients. Pour into the pie shell; additional nut halves can be put on top. Bake at 375 degrees (we have an Aga cooker so we put it on the bottom of the baking oven) 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
It is essential to use 100% real maple syrup, not the fake corn syrup products that are flavored with the dregs of the commercial syrup makers’ boiling (Vermont Maid, Mrs. Butterworth, et al.)
Russian Black Bread
1 TBS vinegar
2 TBS oil (I use olive oil)
1 cup water
1 cup rye flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBS gluten
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup oat bran or rolled oats
2 TBS caraway seeds
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 small to medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 TBS unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 tsps yeast
Now, I never take any recipe at face value. There are already one or two small changes from the original in the above. I always add 1/4 cup coarse corn meal (adds a slight crunch to the crust) and 1/4 cup flax seed or flax meal for heart health.
Depending on the recipe, I also add sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, chopped dried apricots (very good in whole wheat breads), or chopped crystalized candied ginger (adjusting the amount of other sugar in the recipe if I do).
I prefer baking with honey or maple syrup (again, REAL maple, not the flavored corn syrup kind) instead of refined sugar.
I use a bread machine; or bake as you would normally bake bread.
The deepening financial collapse is having a serious effect on performing arts organizations which are cutting back or simply closing up shop. New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini wrote on the subject last week, beginning at the top of New York’s operatic establishment:
“Meanwhile Mr. Steele [newly hired general manager of New York City Opera] and Mr. Gelb [general manager of the Metropolitan Opera] must sit down with unions and reach agreements in these perilous economic times. They are not alone. The Los Angeles Opera has announced a 17 percent reduction in staff. The San Francisco Opera is cutting back on the ambition of its future programming. Eve Queler’s intrepid Opera Orchestra of New York has canceled the remainder of its current season.”
Opera companies in San Diego, Baltimore, Augusta GA, and the Berkshire Opera in western Massachusetts have all closed for good and I suspect there are others that have slipped away as well. The very important New York City Opera, founded by Mayor Fiorello la Guardia in the 1930s, is hanging by a thread.
Mired in debt, prevented from performing this season by renovations to its home theater in Lincoln Center, and abandoned by its high profile, internationally known and connected new general manager Gerard Mortier before he had even taken over the job, City Opera’s Board canceled all existing singers'contracts and dismissed virtually the entire administrative staff in a move that’s going to make starting up again extremely difficult. A new general manager has been almost literally been stolen from the Dallas Opera. He will need all the skill, imagination and strength he possesses to dig NYCO out of the manifold crisis it’s fallen into.
Theater companies are folding also. The renowned Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis is perhaps the most high profile group so far. Other, smaller companies like Milwaukee Shakespeare and Santa Ana’s Rude Guerrilla Theater Company will be distinct losses to their communities.
Boston Theater Works went out of business last year just about the time of the first hints of the enormity of the internal financial crisis. Bankrupted by mounting a highly praised, award-winning production of Angels in America, BTW cancelled its next two scheduled productions and then closed. A good friend of mine who is involved in the local Actors Equity organization, has been working with companies that need to renegotiate down the number of equity actors in each production they do in order to reduce costs as much as possible. Boston has also lost The Snappy Dance Theater. Inevitably, there’s going to be a lot more of this nationwide.
Perhaps not surprisingly at this time of financial crisis in the performing arts, rabidly conservative Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn is introducing legislation that will block a single penny of any bail out money being used for any arts organization whatsoever—theater company, museum, symphony orchestra, dance troupe, opera company, you name it. The irony of the situation is that Coburn’s daughter Sarah is a well established operatic soprano almost certainly headed for a major career.
Compassionate Conservatism at work.
From the Art section of the Boston Globe:
While renowned artist Shepard Fairey was being feted around Boston in recent weeks, posing for pictures with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and preparing for his big opening night at the ICA, neighborhood groups around the city were seething.
In the days leading up to Friday night's opening, Boston Detective Bill Kelley said, he was getting more and more complaints from residents of the Back Bay, the North End, and Mission Hill, furious that a man who admitted to spreading graffiti - even bragged about it - was being treated like a celebrity instead of a criminal.
On Friday night, Kelley ended a stakeout by pulling Fairey's taxicab to the side of a Boston street and arresting him on an outstanding warrant on an old graffiti charge from 2000 as the artist was on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art in South Boston.
The arrest and its timing, combined with Fairey's rise from counterculture icon to mainstream celebrity, have exposed anew some of Boston's oldest contradictions - between convention and revolution, between propriety and creativity, between the old order of places like the Back Bay and the new-moneyed donors to the ICA.
In its wake, it has left two unanswered questions: What is crime and what is art?
"At the end of the day . . . he was arrested like any other graffiti vandal," Kelley said in a telephone interview.
Fairey at 38 has become prominent for his "Hope" image of President Obama.
As if Mr. Fairey doesn't have enough on his plate, the Associated Press has declared the photograph that was the basis for the artist's famous image to be copyright protected, and they want a piece of the financial action. Fairey and his lawyers will fight this claim on the basis that taking images and reworking them into different pieces of art is an activity with a long history that is protected and exempt from legal penalty. AP will no doubt counter that Mr Fairey is making big bucks from this image while the photographer hasn't even been given credit, much less a share of the profits.
Scott of Bill in Exile put this poignant photo on his blog this morning along with this link to an Australian animal protection organization dedicated to saving koalas.
The little marsupials (who are NOT bears of any kind despite their being commonly referred to as koala bears) are especially vulnerable to the horrendous fires blazing across southern Australia. Their normal habitat is trees, the last place any creature should be with the fires leaping rapidly from tree to tree.
On the ground, koalas are slow and are suffering serious burns to their paws as they try to escape the flames. Like all of Australia's wild life caught in the inferno, they are suffering from dehydration. While they normally shy away from humans, the injured and desperate koalas are approaching firemen in hope of help--thus this picture that is becoming an icon internationally.
Scott asked, and I am more than happy to spread his message, that you visit the site and give something if you can to help the association in its work to rescue and treat as many koala as possible.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
The end of January also marked the end of six months since the system went into operation and allowed me to do a little math. We currently pay Public Service of New Hampshire 8.8 cents per kilowatt of electricity we use. Since the electricity we produce gets fed directly into the power grid, causing our meter to run backwards while our cells are creating electricity, our power is worth the exact same 8.8 cts. per KW. I crunched the numbers and then projected them over a full twelve months--it looks like our annual production will reduce our electric bills by around $154.40.
Of course, there are a large number of variables: seasonal shifts in the weather, for example. We’ve haven’t seen how the system works in late winter, spring and early summer yet, and one year may be quite different form another. Still, I know that in the six months and five days from the day we went into the power business until Tuesday when logged 900 KW total produced, we’ve made $79.20 worth of electricity.
A couple of weeks late, we’ve finally had our “January thaw.” The temperature has been in the mid to upper 40s the last two days and with some sun in the afternoons, there’s been a lot of melting.
I was in Boston two days last week. Tuesday night there was a very strong performance of Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra in concert form by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Vocally quite glamorous (soprano Barbara Frittoli, tenor Marcello Giordani and the distinguished Belgian baritone Jose van Dam in the title role), Boccanegra is a political drama set in 14th century Genoa. A lot more compelling than it may sound, the opera concerns itself with a power struggle among the Boccanegra, Grimaldi and Fieschi families. Had the action of the opera occurred just a little later in the century, a fourth family--my family--the Fregosi would have been in the cast list. But it wasn’t to be.
(However if you have ever read Castiglione’s “The Book of the Courtier,” you will have encountered Cardinal Federigo Fregoso (Fregoso being the singular form of the name, Fregosi being used for the family as a whole) a real-life person who is one of four people debating the nature of a true gentleman in the book.)
Friday night the inventive, witty and very elegant Hubbard Street Dance Company from Chicago sold out the Majestic Theater in a delightful program filed with the joy of performing.
Fritz was teaching all weekend, starting on Friday evening. One of the creative assignments the teachers in the class have to do is to make wind chimes out of interesting, off-beat found materials. Here’s a selection of this year’s results:
His amaryllis bloomed this weekend too:
Monday, February 02, 2009
I voted this morning and want to register a complaint about the elimination of the GLBT category. If teens can have a blog award, Australians, Canadians, cooks, et al. why not the vibrant GLBT community? I hope to see this category restored very quickly.
Tonight, I got an email from Nokolai Nolan of the Blogies who referred me to the Blog Good as You with which he’d been in conversation on the same topic:
Nikolai: Even though I liked having the category (I'm gay myself), I removed it because I decided that having a social group as a category doesn't make sense; you don't write a Web site differently if you're homosexual. Over the years, people started taking the category to mean gay-themed weblogs, which could be a proper topical category, but not enough are nominated in comparison to other topical categories. After PerezHilton.com won last year, it seemed that the category had completely lost focus, since he neither writes about himself nor gay topics.
GaY: I think a better solution might have been changing it to, "best weblog about LGBT matters" or something like that. The variable isn't the sexuality of the writer, but rather the important content. It's just SUCH a thriving community (we just had a major event in DC; many of our personalities book mainstream gigs; etc), and one that really doesn't stand a fighting chance in some of the other categories. I hate to see the LGBT crew lose any of the attention that we have to fight so hard to build.
Nikolai: I was considering it, but looking over the nominations, there really aren't a whole lot in comparison to most of the other topical categories. But maybe if Travel fails to gain nominations, a gay topical category could be a candidate for next year.
Simply put, I still don’t buy it--any of it-- so I sent this back:
Good evening, Nikolai--
Thanks for the link to your conversation on the matter. I think there are PLENTY of blogs that are gay themed or that focus on the author's gay orientation. My own is subtitled "A blog for the Arts and Gay Issues" and since the arts are so heavily gay anyway . . .
A great many gay blog authors write about non-gay issues and topics with a gay sensibility which illuminates them from a valuable alternative angle. Others simply write about their lives, including their sexual encounters, which is about as gay as it gets. And there is a significant subculture among gay blogs about the challenges, traumas and rewards of coming out. I don't think we're so difficult to see on the web, or that we're so few in number, and I wonder that "social group" is an apt description. There's far too much diversity within Gay America to refer to it as a social group, as if we all share the same mores, values and politics.
I don't wish that Travel or any other category get kicked out of the lineup--but I certainly don't think Best GLBT blog deserved to be dropped, either. Thank you very much for being in touch and giving me an opportunity to expand my comments further.
I must have found the link to this personality analysis from some other blog but regret I cannot remember which. The results are pretty cool--I just hope some of them are true about me!
Personal DNA about you
You are a Benevolent Leader.
You are a Leader:
Your solid grounding in the practicalities of life, along with your self-assuredness and your willingness to appreciate new things make you a LEADER.
You're in touch with what is going on around you and adept at remaining down-to-earth and logical.
Although you're detail-oriented, this doesn't mean that you lose the big picture.
You tend to find beauty in form and efficiency, as opposed to finding it in broad-based, abstract concepts.
Never one to pass on an adventure, you're consistently seeking and finding new things, even in your immediate surroundings.
Because of this eagerness to pursue new experiences, you've learned a lot; your attention to detail means that you gain a great deal from your adventures.
The intellectual curiosity that drives you leads you to seek out causes of and reasons behind things.
Your confidence gives you the potential to take your general awareness and channel it into leadership.
You're not set on one way of doing things, and you often have the skills and persistence to find innovative ways of facing challenges.
You are well-attuned to your talents, and can deal with most problems that you face.
You're not afraid to let your emotions guide you, and you're generally considerate of others' feelings as well.
Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.
If you want to be different:
There's more to life than the practical - take some time to daydream and explore the aesthetic sides of things. how you relate to others
You are Benevolent:
You are a great person to interact with—understanding, giving, and trusting—in a word, BENEVOLENT
You don't mind being in social situations, as you feel comfortable enough with people to be yourself.
Your caring nature goes beyond a basic concern: you take the time to understand the nuances of people's situations before passing any sort of judgment.
You're a good listener, and even better at offering advice.
You're concerned with others at both an individual and societal level—you sympathize with the plights of troubled groups, and you can care about people you've never met.
Considering many different perspectives is something at which you excel, and you appreciate that quality in others.
Other people's feelings are important to you, and you're good at mediating disputes.
Because of your understanding and patience, you tend to bring out the best in people.
Go to http://www.personaldna.com to find out about your personal DNA.