Archive | October, 2014

Weekly Vinyl – Joe Jackson

31 Oct

Night and Day
Joe Jackson
It’s a blustery fall day outside. The leaves have turned and are falling. It is raining. It is cold.
I’m inside with a good coffee and am listening to a superb album from 1982.
I’m looking outside at the beauty and misery of this fall day and am trying to remember 1982.
I’m drawing a blank. I guess I was not there – completely.
The big hit of this album was the song “Cancer.” It is witty. It is still catchy. And it is very relevant now. The song is timeless. The whole album is timeless. It is such a fantastic piece of work. It is a very slick album, combining elements of jazz, latin flavoured themes and general lounge type sounds. It is smooth music. It is pleasant with a nice bite. Like a really nice meal – you have everything there in perfect proportions.
It’s a nice piece of music to enjoy on a blustery day.

Weekly Wine – Folonari

29 Oct

SONY DSCFolonari Soave
12% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

I had completely forgotten that this wine is under ten bucks.
This is a great inexpensive wine.
It is dry – but just the right dry.
It is fruity – but just the right amount of fruitiness.
It is smooth – but has a tiny bite, a very subtle bite to it.
It is good chilled – but it is not bad at room temperature – whatever that room temperature may be.
It is a very decent whine – and it is not bland.
This has been my go to white wine for many years, and will remain so.
It is just a shade under ten bucks. I thought it was a bit more but I guess the dollar versus the Euro has made it a bit less expensive.
Enjoy it now.
It is a great wine that rivals some that are twice the price.

Rock in Water

26 Oct

I was playing around with my camera up by Algonquin Provincial Park in Northern Ontario and a rock in the lake captured my attention. A long exposure made the wavelets seem like a cloud.

Weekly Vinyl – Harvest

24 Oct

Neil Young
This is the album that made Neil Young. IT sky rocketed him to international stardom and gave him the financial comfort zone to do what he wants. And he’s still doing what he wants – refusing to sell out and being a brilliant counterpoint to what a “star” performer is.
Although this album is on the “mellow” side of Neil Young’s discography, there is enough diversity in the sound that makes every song distinct and interesting. Is it really that mellow in itself, or is it just mellow in what music Neil Young was to create subsequent to this recording?
I am bisead tough. This record was very formative to me. The song “Heart of Gold” is a mellow wistful song. It has a special place in my heart as it was the first song I mastered on the guitar and harmonica. I did a killer version of this. With help I figured out the very comlecx riff of “Needle and the Damage Done” on guitar. I learnt to play guitar with this album. Back in the day I could easily play five out of the ten songs on the album. I could play most of them.
It was an acoustic album that had a drive and a purpose.
It is still that.

Weekly Wine – HardysStamp

22 Oct

SONY DSCHardys Stamp Series Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon

12.5% ABV
$9.90 (LCBO)

This is a good wine. Almost too good.
This is a new type of stamp series from Hardy’s in Australia. It does not have an indigenous animal pictured. It just states – STAMP.
Is this a cost saving measure?

Whatever it may be, this wine is good.
Not excellent – but good. It does not have the weight of an excellent wine, but it does not have the cringe inducing qualities of a bad wine.
The term that popped into my head was easy-drinking.

This term might be considered a kiss of death, and perhaps it should be. Crappy beers are forever marketed as easy-drinking.
But here, in the wine world, easy drinking, for me, means a passable wine. A good inexpensive wine that will not offend anybody and will be consumed and forgotten.
Until the time one needs to pick up a bottle of inexpensive wine.

City Map

19 Oct

I’ve seen many city maps in the places that I have visited but nothing as cool as this one of the old walled city ov Olsztyn in Poland. Located in the Mazurian Lakes area in North-East Poland, the city was a Prussian bastion and was knows as Allenstein until the end of WWII. This brass relief looked fantastic in the square leading to the castle in the city.

Weekly Vinyl – Planet Gong

17 Oct

Live Floating Anarchy 1977
Planet Gong
This wonderful album was a great surprise to my young daughter. “Wow, I can colour this,” she said.
A psychedelic album with a black and white cover. It is crudely hand drawn as well. It exhibits more punk flavour than flower power.
But then again, that is what Planet Gong was kind of about. They were not really the hip psychedelic flower-power band. They were very much free-form craziness.
The music here shows it.
It flows freely and weirdly. Crescendos of power chords and mysterious noodling all combine to make I a serious tour de force. The musical mayhem is accompanied by fairly strong, uncompromising anarchistic rhetoric, which at times sounds like a bit of a put on . . . but then you realise that they are quite genuine in their beliefs.

Fantastic and exhilarating, this is the kind of album that you either love or hate. You cannot be ambivalent about it. When hearing it you will either exclaim, “Wow! Groovy!” or you will scream, “Turn that shit off.” It’s just that kind of album.
I love it.

Weekly Wine – JP Azeitao

15 Oct

SONY DSCBacalhoa JP Azeitao Branco
Year: N/A
13% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO) 

I did the red wine a while back, May 8, 2013, and this one, like the red, had a banner proclaiming it the #1 brand in Portugal.
I took this with a big grain of pink Tibetan salt back then as a #1 brand does not necessarily denote quality. But the red wine was fine so I approached this wine without any trepidations.

Consumed well chilled and with a meal, this wine is perfectly good. It has that musty undertone that some Portuguese wines have. It is an earthy kind of flavour. But it is well in the background and does not distract from ones enjoyment, of the meal or the wine. There are sulfites in the wine but I did not notice them. The wine is not harsh and rather mellow with a decent flavour and is quite refreshing on a hot humid day.

Do not tow

12 Oct


It is always good to have towing capability on a car. You can really move your stuff around. This solution is wrong, unless there is some serious welding and frame modification involved.
But this brings me to another point. You see these types of images quite frequently on the Internet. People improvising in dangerous ways. My beef with these images is that the person who posts usually highlights the error with a big arrow, or circles the problem, or somehow highlights the thing.
It is the automatic assumption that the viewer is an idiot, that bothers me. Probably more-so than the actual error.
Like this tow ball.


Weekly Vinyl – Spanish Train

10 Oct

Spanish Train and Other Stories
Chris De Burgh

My Lord … There is a lot of reference to the Lord here.
There is some devil here too.
There is some racy stripper song that featured prominently in my childhood – I must have been 10 or 11 when I first heard this album.
There is really a lot of sin, redemption, betrayal, repentance and salvation on this disk. It is a very Roman Catholic album. It could have been put out by the Pope, but I don’t think any Pope would be as sappy as some of the songs on this disk. The love songs, as they are, are very much like the love expressed in Disney movies, so the Pope would have no problem belting these out in a late night jam session.
To be fair there are a few thing to like about Chris De Burgh’s Spanish Train and Other Stories. The stories/ballads are well constructed and even a little engaging on occasion. It does help if you are 12ish in the 1970s though. I have not tried to expose this album to my children yet. Abuse laws have become more stringent in the last few decades.
This brings me to why I grimaced when I pulled this album out. Why I haven’t listened to this since the late 70s. Why I will not play this album again unless I want to chase late night guests out of my house. It is an extremely blunt album. The symbolism, the stories, are childish. Meant to appeal to the 12 year old. The lyrics are obtuse and unimaginitive. The most glaring of this is the song A Spaceman Came Travelling… Basically it’s about Jesus coming to earth. But He was a spaceman. It is a really irritating song. I only can imagine that this song sparked the collective minds of Monty Python to create the film
Life of Brian. Where this the case, there is some redemption in this song and in this disk as a whole.