Archive | January, 2014

Weekly Vinyl – The Willow

31 Jan

The Willow and other melodies
J.B. Wesolowsky

It is very appropriate that I just happened to randomly pick this album and am listening to it so close to Super Bowl Sunday.
There is a great corelation between the Super Bowl and maudlin Ukrainian music.
In my youth, the Super Bowl was played towards the end of January. The day of the big game always fell on the same Sunday when Ukrainians would hold this huge long event at Toronto’s Massey Hall to commemorate the date, January 22, of Ukraine’s short lived independence in 1918.
So I never saw the Super Bowl as a young lad but had my fill rousing patriotic speeches and melodic Ukrainian music. Music similar to what is on this album.
I love the cover of this album- it is by noted artist Edward Kozak from Detroit. It’s got just the right pathos that goes well with the music.
The recording itself is actually quite good. A little too heavy with the orchestral arrangements for my liking but a nice sentimental thing to put on during the Super Bowl game.

Weekly Wine – Castillo de Monseran

29 Jan

????????Castillo de Monseran Garnacha
$9.95 (LCBO)

I have a new favourite grape. I used to, and still am, a big fan of the Malbec grape. I have never had a wine with this grape that I did not like.
Now I also am a fan of this Garnacha grape. This wine did it for me. What a nice wine. It is smooth, flavourful and very pleasant to drink with a meal, just simply watching lazy snowflakes fall on frozen ground, or watching a capital city burn through the magic of the Internet – I’m watching you Kyiv.
The wine does have a little bit of after taste, but it kicks in long after the wine has exited the esophagus and just at the right time that you would like another taste of the wine. So it is really not much of a problem after all. And the after taste is not really unpleasant – it is a hallmark of most inexpensive wines. Wines that have not aged, were never designed to age, were fermented with the expressed intent to provide a good product at a reasonable price.
This wine is value, as are most wines that I try in the under 10 dollar bracket. You really have to spend a considerable amount more to be able to taste and feel the difference in quality.

Boy, Dog, Snow

26 Jan


It was cold, but both the boy and the dog had fun in the deep snow.


Weekly Vinyl – Even in the quietest Moments…

25 Jan

Even in the quietest Moments…
This is such a joyous album in a way. It really brings me back to my childhood. Well pre-teens anyway. The first guitar chords of Give a Little Bit, the first song, put a nice big grin on my face. That look did not leave until the end of Fool’s Overture, the last song. This is a damn fine album. Released it 1977, the same year one of my other favourite albums was released, Talking Heads 77. Perhaps I should organize my albums in the year they were released and see if there is any annual pattern to my musical tastes. My LPs are in a very random order – I gave up ordering them the last time I moved them from one corner to the other and built them a special metal shelf. But back to this album – it is really interesting to listen to this music again. It is good. The songs are catchy, well crafted and not overblown or over produced. I was trying to come up with a novel category for Supertramp and came up with Progressive Pop Rock. It kinda fits.

Weekly Wine – Alandra

22 Jan

SONY DSCFinagra Alandra Red
13% ABV
$7.75 (LCBO)

I don’t know why I have not seen, nor tried this wine earlier.
This stuff is is inexpensive. Cheap even.
It is under eight bucks for crying out loud.
I was expecting some real rot gut but was surprised. It is not that bad at first taste. I guess that is what you get when you put your expectations real low. And in real terms, what can you really expect from a wine that is perhaps the least expensive in Ontario? I’m not gagging as I drink this. I am not making a sour face. But then again I am not thinking – WOW.
This stuff is drinkable. After the second glass I have an after taste in my mouth that is not too pleasant. It is not disgusting mind you, it is just a taste that lingers and makes you think about your toothbrush and the selection of toothpastes that might be had in your bathroom.

Birds of JFK

21 Jan


So I’m waiting in Terminal 2 of the JFK airport in New York and these birds started hopping around in front of me. I took a quick snap before they fluttered away. I then saw a group of about four of them perched on a railing. I’m used to seeing birds in rail and bus stations but this is the first time I saw birds in an airport terminal. I guess the US Homeland Security will have another scandal on its hands.

Weekly Vinyl – Fantabulous Strings

17 Jan

Fantabulous Strings
Those Fantabulous Strings play the Sonny & Cher Hits
I miss the days when there was music in the elevators. Well this is kind of like that music. Not exactly Muzak but quite close. There are so many elements of this record that give me joy – besides the music. These are “Those Fantabulous Strings.” What a word. Sort of like craptastic. I’ll be waiting for this word to comeback and go viral again. I love the figurines that represent Sonny & Cher on the cover. I’m not sure why the stars themselves did not show their faces for the photo shoot. They could have used finger puppets, but hand models cost money. I love the fonts on the cover. They don’t make them like they used to. There is only one Sonny & Cher song that I know, I got you babe, so the rest of the albums “hits” are really anonymous. I recall seeing an episode two of the Sonny & Cher Show but I do not remember the music or anything else about the show. Except, of course, Cher’s outrageous outfits. Her outfits where somewhat memorable. The music on this album is largely forgettable.

Weekly Wine – Trapiche

15 Jan

SONY DSCTrapiche Malbec
13.5% ABV
$9.45 (LCBO)

I bought this wine last year. In 2013 to be exact. I did not unscrew it till 2014.
Two things here.
First off. Unscrew it has such a bad, bad atmosphere about it. It has a connotation of cheapness. Of sordid sexual impotency. Of regret, shame and loathing.
We must make up a better term because “uncorking” is so a few years ago and simply saying “open” is lame.
Suggestions can be: Untwisted; Decapped; I freed the wine from it’s see through dungeon…
The second being is that this wine is of a 2013 vintage and drinking a vintage in the same year it was bottled seems a bit presumptuous to me. The way I figure – I might as well be eating the grape.
The wine is fine. Even though I had been indulging in spicy foods, the wine came through nicely without after tastes and declared that it did have something original to offer. It is a Malbec grape so the wine’s flavour does stand out – this is a nice thing.


12 Jan

This plane is huge.
It is impressive … but pretty it ain’t.
It seems too short to fly. It is not very elegant aesthetically.
Yet it doesn’t have the brutality of some of the other monsters of the air like the Antonov An-124 and An-225 or the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy.
That aside, I would love to fly somewhere nice in it.

Weekly Vinyl – Pitch Black

10 Jan

Underground Sound / Feel It, Do It (Disk 1)
Pitch Black
I had just arrived back in Toronto from some tripe from somewhere and I noticed a store selling new vinyl records in down town core. This was odd as everything had moving to CDs a this point in time. This was a store that was geared to the electronic music scene. I spent an inordinate amount of time in the store listening to various records and speaking with the staff. I emerged with a selection of new vinyl.
This album is from the genre known as tribal. I know this because I have a Post-It note on the record sleeve that identifies it as so.
The music is interesting. I particularly like some of the electronic drumming on the second side. There are but two short compositions on either side of the record. I enjoy the fact that I can play this record at either 33 or 45 RPM and have a distinct and interesting auditory experience. To this end I wish my record player had a 78 RPM option.
Oh . . . I really like the album cover as well.