Archive | April, 2013

Poplar in the Sunset

28 Apr


This is one of the few images that I took from a moving car that I don’t mind. I have a habit of taking many shots. Most of them are bad. I’m being generous. But habits are habits. I will continue taking shots from moving cars. The shot would have been better had the farmhouse had its light on. I can add them in Photoshop but I would probably make a hash of it. I look at this shot and get the feeing of movement and stillness.

Weekly Vinyl – The Runner

26 Apr

The Runner
The Three Degrees

I listened to this record for the first time ever just now. I have no idea how it found its way into my collection. Where I got it is a mystery. I probably picked it up because this maxi-single is white vinyl — it looks cool. The music is disco. There is a short version of the runner on one side and a longer version on the other side. The extended version is just the rhythm with lots of cowbell initially then the standard funky soul treatments that served this genre of music so well. The 4/4 beat is overpowering. It just keeps on going like a metronome with not much variation. I can see this being good on a dance floor. Even now. If I were to quibble I would say that the short version is too short and the extended version is a wee bit too long.

Fresh water reprieve

25 Apr

There’s a story that I have been following for a while that has come to some sort of conclusion. It is about a unique laboratory. The Experimental Lake Area (ELA) is a collection of 58 lakes in Northern Ontario that are used for various experiments. Research on acid rain, mercury contamination, and other important matters relating to fresh drinkable water have been conducted here since the place opened up in 1967. Researchers from around the world work here. It is the only place that does this anywhere in the world.
Our brilliant federal government decided to shut the place down in May 2012 to save a few dollars. ELA’s yearly budget amounted to about two million dollars ($2,000,000). Not much in the scheme of things when you look at the groundbreaking research that was done here. I wrote about this issue a lot during my stint as editor of I am glad to hear that the Ontario and Manitoba provincial governments will be stepping in to save the ELA and doing now what the Canadian federal government is seemingly loath to do — fund serious scientific research.


Weekly Wine – Fuzion

24 Apr

SONY DSCFuzion / Shiraz-Malbec
13% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

This is a cheap Argentinean wine. A wine that made extraordinary ripples when it was introduced here in Ontario. A decent wine so cheap. Even wine snobs would put a bottle or two into their baskets for those “special occasions.” It is a favourite for the cottagers and the backyard grill enthusiasts — a cheap wine that one will not be embarrassed about. It has a strong initial taste that fades quite nicely. The aftertaste is pronounced but not bad. A tart taste lingers on the tongue. The wine is all right for casual drinking – the definition of plonk. There are no real faults with the taste but there is nothing too extraordinary as well. If buying it helps the Argentinean economy and forestalls another invasion of the Falklands – and that is a good thing.


Calf on a chain

21 Apr


Curious and naive calf in a Polish field.

Weekly Vinyl – Before and after Science

19 Apr

Before and after Science
Brian Eno
I have no idea what happened to this album. When I took it out of the sleeve it was stuck to the plastic insert. Did the plastic melt? Did some sticky sweet liquid infiltrate the album and cause this mess? A flashback memory hit me and I saw my mom washing records and having them drip dry in the drying rack. I shook my head got the record cleaner out, carefully cleaned the album and let it spin.
Oh boy, that didn’t work too well. The sound was horrible and the needle was slipping around. Yes. I washed the record with very mild some and lukewarm water. No. I did not leave it in the drying rack to drip dry.
Now that the record is playing normally IO can concentrate on the music. There is earnestness to Brian Eno’s music especially when he is singing. His voice has this deliberate melodic charm, which is quite unique. This is a calming record even when it does try to take it up a notch, like in the song Backwater, there is a subdued intensity. The songs are exquisitely crafted. No wonder he is such a fine producer. This was one of the albums that introduced me to Brian Eno. It is a fine example of this artists work.

Random Musings

17 Apr

With so much going on in my work, life, world, I have had no time to think. No time to clear my head and have original thoughts. This musing is late because my mind is full.
Bombing in Boston, war (potentially) in the Korean peninsula, political scandal, incompetence and impotence here, there and everywhere, my son has tons of homework, grubs are eating the little patch of grass that I call a lawn and the plane crash in Bali where thankfully no one died.
I spent a week in Bali about 15 years ago. About one or two kilometres from where the plane crashed I was frolicking in the surf in the sand. Those were good times.

My mind is clear now.

Back to work.


Weekly Wine – Monte Cheval

17 Apr

SONY DSCPlantaze Monte Cheval Vranac
13% ABV
$9.60 (LCBO)

To be honest I was not really expecting much from this wine. The label looks like it was only slightly updated from the country’s communist era. I’ve had wine from these regions before. I particularly remember a really nice white wine I had in Krakow in 1989. The wine was made in Kosovo. I’m not making this up – although my opinion on the quality of wine at that juncture is relative since wine was a rarity and I drank two bottles of it for lunch. I have fond memories of that day and will give an obscure wine a chance, especially if it carries a reasonable price. The wine is fine. Worth the price of admission. Unlike most wines in this price range it comes with a cork. The cork in my bottle broke in half when I was opening the bottle (an inauspicious start) but this did not set me back for too long. The back label claims that this wine will improve if kept for several years but honestly – drink this wine now.

Wine in Liechtenstein

14 Apr

Due to the fact I started to write about wine, I started to think about vineyards. I looked through my photos to see if I had any images. I found this one of a vineyard on the outskirts of Vaduz, the capital of  Liechtenstein.

Weekly Vinyl – Eswar ein Edelweiss

12 Apr

Eswar ein Edelweiss
Chor des Gebirgsfernmeldenbattalions 8
This is a good one. If you like marching music. German marching music. Another album I picked up in Switzerland, I initially thought that this was a Swiss Army marching band. They march and yodel. You can’t beat that. The Edelweiss in the title hinted that it might be an Austrian marching band. Deciphering the German notes on the cover, I can safely stat that this is indeed a German Army marching band. That yodels. While they march. How cool is that. The army group that is responsible for this very cool album is based in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is in the German alps and the site of much Canadian success on the ski slopes. There is something about the German marching band music that is compelling to me. You want to march when you hear it. I was a scout and we marched all the time. I hated it. If this music was playing I would have probably joined the army after my time in the scouts passed. This music will be my morning wakeup music now. Marching. Yodelling. Amazing.