Archive | April, 2016

Weekly Vinyl – Sibelius again

29 Apr

Sibelius – Symphony #3 and Violin Concerto in D minor
Philharmonia Orchestra (Paul Kletzki/David Oistrakh) and Stockholm Festival Orchestra (Sixten Ehrling)
I found information about this album on the internet. Well not much information, just the year of release. I also saw that a copy of this album was going for $9.27. What an odd number.
My copy would not command such a lofty price as the cover is in shambles – the old masking tape that held it together is disintegrating, but the disk is in very good shape.
It sounds good too.
But I sit here and listen to this classical, romantic, at times sparse music and wonder why I have so much Sibelius. Well, I was into it for a while. That has passed.
I hope I don’t pull out any of his albums soon.
I’ve had quite enough.

Weekly Wine – Mezzamondo

27 Apr

MezzNRpMezzomondo Negroamaro Puglia IGT
13% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO)

I could have sworn I had reviewed this wine. But I haven’t.
I friend had given this to me while we were sitting up at their cottage in Northern Ontario.
It was a very nice evening and what I remember of the wine was that it was unremarkable and OK. The other wines we drank – one over 10 and one under, evoked a storm of controversy over colour, smell, taste and all the other wine snob things.
This one was had quickly and succinctly without nary a comment.
This could be a good thing or a bad thing…
Featureless wines are not exactly a desirable concoction. Why would one consume something that has no character.
Then again – bad characteristics, even the slightest one, can forever mark a wine as undrinkable.
This wine is OK – from what I can tell – neither bad no good.

Who’s on money debate.

25 Apr

There has been a lot of noise lately about featuring women on currency. This Monday, April 25, 2016, The Globe and Mail ran a center spread on this subject. Prominent Canadian women sounded off on who they think is should be on our currency.
I wrote a letter to the editor. Here it is…

 I am perplexed by the amount of ink and airspace devoted to debating the inclusion of a woman onto our currency. 
 I have a 20 dollar bill in front of me and it seems there is a woman staring back at me. I believe she be the queen of this land – appearing on our coins and some stamps as well.
 Is this debate just not a convenient smokescreen to avoid discussing the gender gap, pay inequality, healthcare issues, abortion, missing women, and so on.
 You know, real issues.

There are a lot of issues in Canadian society. Many issues with inequality to be dealt with. Why-oh-why is the issue of putting a woman on the currency gaining such traction over other issues. I applaud the US for finally putting Harriet Thubman, an African-American who helped free slaves, on a bill. And when we replace royalty with someone else on our currency it will be nice to.
I guess…
Are we not moving more and more to digital money anyway?
Credit cards, Pay Pal etc…
I honestly don`t know who`s face is on the money in my pocket. The issue only struck me today when wile reading the article in the Globe there was a 20-dollar bill on the table with the Queen gazing at me sternly.
Let`s just put this one to bed and discuss graver issues.


Tequila ghost

24 Apr

SONY DSCIt was quite late in the evening and I was playing with my camera.
A flash and a long exposure gives this ghostly effect of a hand reaching for a shot glass of tequila.
This is as close to a selfie as I’ve ever come.

Weekly Vinyl – Huey Lewis and the News

22 Apr

Huey Lewis and the News
Huey Lewis and the News
This is another album in my collection that I should file under, “why do I have this.”
The music here is very forgettable. Huey Lewis and the News had a bunch of hits in the 80s and 90s. None of them are here.
The music is very late 70s early 80s bar rom Rock’n Roll.
The music is over produced. It is very clean. It sounds a bit like soundtracks for 80s sitcoms. Needless to say, the music has not aged well.
I’ve listened to this album twice now to find some redeeming factor in it. Musically I could not find anything. Lyrically the songs are a jumble of clichéd platitudes and nonsense. It works for the style of music I guess.
The only redeeming factor that I could find is the act that one of the band members on the cover is holding a double-necked Danelectro guitar/bass. That’s a cool rare instrument.

Weekly Wine – Tini

20 Apr

Tini Sangiovese Romagna DOC
12% ABV

I kept this bottle on the shelf longer than most because I really liked the classy looking label and the fact that it was under eight bucks.
That’s a low, low price and I was quite hesitant to try such a wine for fear that it was really low grade kill.
But the day came when the cupboard was bare and this one last wine tempted me with what I must reiterate is a very nice clean looking and very upmarket label.
The wine falls somewhere between its price and what the label suggests this wine is. It has a very heavy body with lots of flavour – It is an uncomplicated flavour, not much nuance, but it is not too bad. It is a fairly heavy wine though, LCBO states that it is medium bodied, but it really gives the impression of a weighty wine. Perhaps it is the sour aftertaste…
It is not bad for the price. I have had worse wine for a dollar or two more, but I am not convinced that I would buy this again.

Notes from the air

18 Apr

I’m writing this at 10,972meters.
That’s about 36,000 feet.
I’m in a plane – obviously.
But I am also writing this on my new iPad Air.
What I remember about the original launch of the original iPad, besides a the slavish and excessive praise, was one journalists comment that amongst all the ballyhoo about the new device, none of the reviews were written on the iPad.
So I’m trying to write something,besides simple reminders and notes.
This keyboard is touch sensitive – the operative word being sensitive. Mistakes are made a plenty. However the autocorrect takes over. It works fairly well. In fact, in the short time that I’m using this I have become a lazy writer. The autocorrect compensates for the sensitive keyboard but it also does things automatically that make you chuck proper word raft out the window. You don’t use the apostrophe. In fact, I have to switch keyboards to use it. Words just have to be spelled close enough to come out right. It would be fascinating to see the original “keystroke” version of this. It would be funny and shameful.
I know this is all old hat for most people… But this is my new toy/tool. And I’ve just watched The Big Short and I have another hour or so before we land. And… And this is a big And… I don’t have a window seat. So I can’t even see the majesty of the world, nor can I take pictures of clouds and such. We will be over the Rocky Mountains soon and I will miss seeing them. The airline has a moving map addition called “Window Seat” – it is like looking at Google earth in real time. Not bad, but not the real thing. Through one of the few open windows I can see it is cloudy. Why do you get a window seat and insist on having the shade drawn through to whole flight. What is the point of that!
But back to the writing, I read what I wrote and there were a few autocorrect errors – so I can’t be that sloppy. Editing text is a pain as you have to rewrite the whole word, you can’t position the cursor. But perhaps that is a function of this free word processing software, get name, that I am using. Word and Google wanted to connect to the Internet which is lacking 10 kilometers above the earth.
All-in-all, the experience is not that bad but I do think I need a proper keyboard to do anything substantial. The keyboard needs to be in the right position and have the keys that I usually take for granted when I write on my laptop or my desktop.


Barn Wreath

17 Apr

This is a wonderful barn door.
The wreath just adds that certain something.
Like the rug in Lebowski’s room.
It completes the door.
The frame.
The barn.
This photo…

Weekly Vinyl – Superman

15 Apr

O Superman (maxi-single)
Laurie Anderson


The infuriating thing about this album (maxi-single actually) is that there are only two songs on it. The songs are not remixed or dub versions of the original songs – just the original songs themselves, on a large record, meant to be played at 45 r.p.m.
I would like the songs to be longer. I would like there to be more songs. (I can always just pop in the album…) I don’t want to get up every few minutes to stop the record player, switch sides… (My Thorens turntable is a fully manual beast – no automation.)
The two songs are lengthy by pop standards but not long enough, for me.
O Superman was Laurie Anderson’s big breakout. It is a fantastic subtle song, that still can entice and enthral me after all these years. It is a timeless composition.
The B side is Walk the Dog which is a quirky tune that really reveals Anderson’s humour and musical sensibility.
A fun record … but I have to go and swap sides again.

Weekly Wine – Sangria

13 Apr

SangriaFünf 5 Sangria Spain
Year: N/A
Germany / Spain
7.5% ABV
$9.15 (LCBO)

Fünf 5 is a German wine maker that makes a fairly nice Riesling.
This wine is a bit confusing as it is a sangria, which is traditionally a red wine based beverage and originated, I believe, in Spain and Portugal.
This is a German wine company using Spanish wine for its product. Says so on the bottle – Spanish Red wine … Cellared and bottled in Germany.
OK. Why not. Is it good?

It is OK. The wine is a bit heavy for me. It has a fairly heavy body and the fruitiness is quite sublime. It is not at all like home-made sangria. Further examination of the bottle I see that this concoction is made with natural fruit flavours. Natural fruit flavours does not mean that they use the essence of lemons or oranges. So it is no wonder there is no great fruit blast that usually accompanies sangria.
This wine, sangria, is ok if you are very, very lazy. Better to buy a nice inexpensive bottle of wine, use real fruit, and make it at home. Honestly, it is not very difficult or time consuming.