Archive | June, 2014

Eagles in the Sun

29 Jun

These are Golden eagles warming themselves in the sun.
This image was taken at the Mt. Morris dam, just south of Rochester.
The dam is used for flood protection and was dry at the time we visited.

So I went to a revival … kinda

28 Jun

DM02So I went to my first spiritual revival meeting. Well… It was a Dave Matthews concert.
It seemed like a spiritual revival. At least the ones I saw on TV.
The music was great. The sound was shit.
I could not understand one word the man sang. Everybody in the audience new everything by heart.
Hence the revival.
I did not know the words.
I was the outsider….
I was the sinner…
Praise Jesus.
Praise Matthews. Or Dave. Or David. Or whatever.DM01
The show was at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. This is a venue that I have avoided till this evening. It is located on the spot where the best live venue in the world used to be located – the Ontario Place Forum.
It was a magical place. The concerts were free with admission. Or free a half hour after the show started. I could fill a list of over a hundred amazing artists that. I saw here. BB King, Jean Luc Ponty, Doug and the Slugs! Robert Fripp, teenage head. These were my summer evenings and my musical education.
The sound was excellent and one could bring all manner of inebriants in – as long as you were discreet.
Tonight the sound is muddy and the beer costs 16 bucks a can. There is airport like security at the gates.
But the music is OK. I will listen to his music, with half decent sound, to understand why he has such a following.


Weekly Vinyl – Ray Charles

27 Jun

Dansez Le Twist!
Ray Charles
I got this one is Switzerland. In Winterthur’s market where many of the townsfolk sell their used items. It is a citywide garage sale set in an historic town centre.
What I liked about this album is that it is made of that heavy, heavy vinyl. It feels like an old 78 record. Because of the excellent vinyl the sound is very good.
Unlike most of the albums I picked up at this market, this one had the most dishevelled cover. It must have been played a lot. And listening to this I can see why.
This is beautiful classic blues music. I can’t imagine anybody not liking it. When the first notes came from the turntable I felt like Elwood Blues from the movie Blues Brothers, where Ray Charles appeared, starting his turntable going in his tiny one room apartment.
It’s the blues and I feel very happy listening to it.
Go figure.

Weekly Wine – Cotton Candy

25 Jun

SONY DSCCotton Candy Rose
Year: N/A
11.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

I saw this wine and it was love at first sight.
Cotton Candy Wine!
Who might this be marketed to?
When I approach something new, be it wine, music, art, humans, whatever, I try not to prejudge. It was hard with this one as I don’t like cotton candy as it is sickly sweet. Your face is sticky, as are your hands, and you feel diabetes looming over you.
And here before me is Cotton Candy wine…
Journalists who review things like bad products because they can wax poetics, shovel the bile, and really put the screws to a product.
I thought this wine would be worse. Make no mistake, this is a bad wine. It is not as sweet as cotton candy, but it has that sicklyness that is attached to that sugary mess. On has to note that these wine creators did get fairly close to the flavour of cotton candy.
Why? Why would you want to do this?
Did they make a wine that is bad and it tasted like cotton candy so they had a marketing brain wave?
I can’t imagine anybody buying this wine, except for a joke… or an insult.





The swan, the boy, the sea

22 Jun


In a moment of serenity, a boy and a swan can contemplate the frigid Baltic Sea.

Weekly Vinyl – Platinum

20 Jun


Mike Oldfield

As punk was breaking and new wave and rap music was in its infancy, Mike Oldfield decided to stop making very very long compositions. His previous ones were album length and even double album length.
The compositions also are much tighter and feature his very excellent guitar work.
Oldfield made long works and played all the instruments himself. Even though he played a guitar he was known as a multi-instrumentalist. He is still known as a multi-instrumentalist. He should be known as a guitar God.
This album really shows off his guitar prowess. Yes there is a lot of multi-instrumental work, but his guitar is front and centre in nearly all the pieces here.
The title track track, divided into four parts, dominates the whole first side. It is powerful and the final, aptly titled North Star/Platinum Final for its use of elements of Philip Glasses work North Star, is something that you want to listen to forever.
This is an amazing album that all guitarist should hear – to be entertained, wowed, and humbled.


Weekly Wine – Naked Grape

18 Jun

SONY DSCNaked Grape Uncorked Shiraz
year – N/A
12.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

So here is an inexpensive wine from Canada. I like the label and I like the name.
Naked grape. There is honesty here.
It proclaims itself as an “unoaked shiraz.”
This means it fermented in a plastic bucket – just like you can do at home.
It proclaims itself a combination of Canadian and International wines.
It calls itself a blend, but that word is too kind.
So it is not a blend of grapes but of fermented wine. A bunch of shiraz wines poured into a plastic bucket, it could be stainless steel, swirled around and bottled. Then sold.
The result … not too good.
It is sour. It tastes like wine I made at home. It tastes like wine I made at the Swansea Brew Club back in the day. I paid about two bucks a litre for that stuff. This costs more.

On the Top

15 Jun


Of Mount Tremblant. Quebec.
The weather was nice ’cause it was summer.

Weekly Vinyl – The Pleasure Principle

13 Jun

The Pleasure Principle
Gary Numan
What a smile comes across my face when I hear the first synthesiser sounds emenating from the speakers. There is no sound so good like an analogue synthesizer. I’m not knocking digital synthesizer – they are amazing machines – but the older analogue sound is so sweet. So electronic. So primitive.
This album was a signpost for the 80s sound of music – Post-Punk, New Romantic, New Wave, Synth Pop. It was, and is, a fantastic album. And I am not just being nostalgic. And I am not just focusing on the massive hit “Cars.”
The whole album album is great. It is not quite Kraftwerk because there is more emotion behind the sterile and soulful synthesizer sound.
It is interesting, as this was a staple on the dance floors in the early 80s, how slow the beat is. Compared to today’s pop, these are leisurely ballads.
Fantastic to listen to and fantastic to move to – I can’t wait to spring this one on my kids.



12 Jun

Today is election day. For me this is usually like St. Nicholas day and my birthday rolled into one.
I love elections. Seeing the “will of the people” at work.
Seeing the machinations of political machines triumph or unravel.
Witnessing the human drama unfold in non-stop action on the TV.
I usually eat Ketchup chips and drink red wine to celebrate.
I usually vote in the advanced polls to keep my mind clear.
But today is the Ontario Provincial election and we are faced with a poor choice of political leaders and political parties.
The election is a close one so each vote matters.
But really the choice is so pathetic that it makes one want to spoil the ballot.
It puts a downer on the election.
Perhaps this year there will be no ketchup chips and wine.