Archive | October, 2016

Hollow-ween

31 Oct

This column took me a long time to put together.
Not because it is a long and complex story.
But because I could not find a word.
I was, and am, looking for a word to express my feelings for Halloween.
Bah-Humbug is used for Christmas.
I need one for Halloween.

Cloud Blanket

30 Oct

prarieblank
Most of the flight to Edmonton was in the clouds and then it cleared up. There were great views of the majesty of the Canadian Shield and then the prairies. And, as we were descending, the clouds came in again, covering the autumnal land like a warm blanket.

Weekly Vinyl – Live Jazz

28 Oct

Live at the Montmartre Club
Warne Marsh Lee Konitz Quintet
(1981)
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This is music from a show that Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz, two very old school jazz saxophonists, gave at the legendary “Jazzhause” Montnartre Club in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 27, 1975. I know this because of the liner notes which are very complete.
I know that this is not the complete show because the whole set list is online … as are all of Warne Marsh’s set lists and recordings (most of the shows, rehearsals, radio shows were recorded from what I can see) from 1942 (o3 1943 – they aren’t sure) to 1987. I’m really impressed with that. There are set lists of his rehearsals in Bergen, Norway that exist as private recordings. I am impressed by the details and the pedantry of these jazz aficionados. These are details and history that the artist himself had forgotten.
I’m not a big jazz fan, certainly not to the extent of the person or persons who put this discography together, but listening to this music and researching the travels and recordings of Warne Marsh really hit the spot. This album will definitely be on my frequent rotation shelf.

Weekly Wine – Red plonk

26 Oct

1026loiosrLoios Red
2015
Portugal
750ml
14% ABV
$9.20 (LCBO)

Perhaps the title is not fair.
But that’s the mood I’m in.
I was looking for some plonk and I have it.
This is not the least expensive Portuguese wine in Ontario and it is quite good in its way. It has a nice presentable label that is classy and funky at the same time.
This wine has that earthy flavour that many Portuguese wines have. This flavour is distinctive and while some people don’t like it, it has grown on me and I don’t mind it.
This wine is spicy and the body is not heavy, although it is not a light either. There is a hint of cherry and some other fruit that I can`t quite make out. The balance of this wine is really nice – the earthiness combined with the fruit and spice works very well.
This wine is inexpensive plonk but it is very good plonk. It is definitely worth a taste.

Creatures of habit

24 Oct

There’s a pothole one street over. I hit it quite frequently when I drive down that street even though I know it is there.
Is it forgetfulness – the dawn of senility? No. I’ve been driving that way for many years – the pothole is the interloper in this case. Eventually someone from the city, or from Mars, will come and fix the pothole so as to not disturb my driving habit and all will be well.
For me to change my driving habits will be to tamper with the fundamental fabric of the universe. I really don’t want to mess with that. Habits and rituals are a fundamental aspect of the human condition.
We all are creatures of habits. Some of realize this … some not.
We do things routinely without realizing it. These habits can only be broken if we realize that these are habits and consciously work hard to break them.
These habits can be inane – like hitting a pothole or arranging your coffee cup just so before drinking.
These habits can be self-limiting as well. I remember the time when people would proudly say, “I drive a Chevy, ‘cause my dad and grandpa drove ‘em.” (You can substitute Chevy for Chrysler, Ford, Plymouth, Mercury, Pontiac – any of the big three American car brands there.)
This is also dangerous because one can say – I vote for this party because my forefathers voted that way. People who think this way, will vote that way, out of habit, regardless of what the party stands for or who is in charge of that party.
Yes, this is a reference to the US election and Trump, but it is more than that. The Republicans have diverged greatly from their formative ideals – as have the Democrats. Both parties, as institutions, have done a sub-par job of steering America, and the population is right to be angry.
But to fall for a race-baiting, genital-snatching narcissist is unbelievable. The fact that Clinton is due to the perceived notion, not without merit, that no change will come. Habit. The fact that Trump is still nominally within striking distance of the presidency is largely because people are creatures of habit. Five Thirty Eight dot Com has an example of this here. They will vote the way they vote – end of story.
It is time to break the habit, on both sides.
It won’t destroy the Universe.
But it might fix that pothole.

Farm carvings

23 Oct

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I’ve seen images of farmers carving mosaics into their fields but I’ve never seen it with my own eyes.
Well here you go – flying into Edmonton this wonderful apparition emereged in front of my eyes.
The funny thing – this wasn’t some halloween celebration imprint. This work, which must have taken much planning and work celebrates the Edmonton basedutility that provides “clean water, wastewater services and safe, reliable electricity” accccording to EPCOR’s website. Now I’m thinking that this is just an add.
Perhaps a haloween installation would have been better.

Weekly Vinyl – Ammerland

21 Oct

Ammerland
Heinz Froehling & Gerd Fuehrs
(1978)
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I used to be really into this album.
The guitar work in conjunction with the keyboard synthesizer really enthralled me back in the day.
As I’m listening to this today, now, in this era… I’m not too enthused.
It is nice music.
Pleasant even.
But rather milk toasty.
Pablum.
It is easy listening.
New age music. Emotionless music that belays emotion.
This was released before the whole New Age music took hold for a brief period and it is a rather good disk of the genre but it does not really work now except perhaps as incidental music as you are dusting the house on a quiet Saturday afternoon.
Or at a funeral parlour visiting a semi-hip friend.

Weekly Wine – Fantini

19 Oct

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Fantini Farnese Chardonnay
2015
Italy
750ml
12% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

First sip is OK.
Second sip – is a little bit sour.
Third sip – actually not that bad. The wine is all right.
There is lots of citrus here. Some peach. Some apple – the green Granny Smith apples. Perhaps that’s the sourness, which is actually a nice sourness. The sourness of the wine is the first hit you get, and it startles you a bit but it mellows out after a while.
There is a bit of sweetness but it is very well tempered and does not get in the way of the flavour. It is a very nice well balanced medium bodied wine. It gets better the more you sample it. Not that the first or second sips are bad. The first sips are a bit harsh initially. But this goes away quickly.
This is an nice wine that’s OK as a table wine with a meal, or a snack.

Desert Road

16 Oct

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I absolutely adore desert scenery. This was taken in Nevada as we were approaching The Valley of Fire.

Weekly Vinyl – Sandanista

14 Oct

Sandanista!
The Clash
(1980)
1014clashsand
I remember buying this album.
It was a “garage sale” in a guy’s upstairs apartment of a house in the Parkdale area of Toronto. He was so proud – he was moving to CDs… the idiot.
I bought a bunch of really good disks that day but I only remember this one. It cost three dollars because it is a triple album. He was selling his quite excellent record collection at a buck a disk. What a tool.
Did he cell his CD collection when iTunes emerged? Is he now buying the albums that he used to have at 30 bucks a pop because vinyl is “back” in fashion? Honestly… one has to wonder about some people.
I was happy as a pig in shit when I bought this album. I had heard this album at a friend’s and was enamoured by it. It is fantastic. There is no weak tune on these three disks. You have everything here – rock, punk rock, reggae, ska, dub, folk and so much more. You can hear faint strains here of what will have emerged into Rap and Hip Hop.
It is such a complete album that I hesitate to play it for fear of wearing the grooves of the vinyl out – I usually defer to my digital copy when I want to hear it.
But not this time. The disks are on and I’m grooving.
So I’ll stop writing.