About Me

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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

On Running, and other ruminations.

I am running. Left leg up right leg up - running. 
Mindlessly running. Left leg right leg.  
Aimlessly running. Left leg right leg - endlessly running.

And then I wake
Do I have  legs, still? 

Slowly I sit up and look.
They are here. 
And do ache as IF I had been really running - 
endlessly running. aimlessly running, mindlessly running.

In the sallow light that creeps through the slats, they are  pale, achingly blue. 
**********************************************************

Two Cats.
There are two cats I visited recently.

Lalloo of the velvet fur - an elegant older gentleman. 
Calmly looking a the world 



 Hazer with the silky stripes and hints of russet -  younger sleeker.
Loves to chew..on toes, shoes, and watch out -  maybe fingers.
Hazer (not Hazen as in a certain Hockeyplayer) is still young and energetic. 
Plays with a glittery blue 'thing' . 
Or with a long string batting at it, and CHEWING it!

Lalloo looks on languidly: "Ah that youngster"

I leave becalmed - good bye till next time.
***********************************************************************

Am I In the mood... for something danceable? 
Hmmm...yes...listening to 
Swing, Jive and such and tapping toes. Fun! **************************************************************************

Loosing a friend, even only because her decision is made to go off Facebook, is hard to do.
I was always looking forward to her dispensing wisps of wisdom. 
Posting pictures dishes (some yummier that others even if I wouldn't eat them).
And sharing thoughts and wishful dreamings.
It is good to share one's dreams and hopeful wishes.
****************************************************************************

 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Decisions: U verse vs xfinity? Satellite or cable?

You know something, I really could care less.
Watching TV is not foremost on my agenda. So I left it up to Better Half and he is going for Uverse and WiFi enabled TV! More to study how to operate that.
Methinks I am being dragged willy-nilly into the electronic world. Do I really want to? I'd be perfectly happy watching how I do it now, those 10 hrs a week (a bit more if a LONG opera is being broadcast ;-), otherwise I do watch DVDs, read and listen to CDs.

And not Bluetooth either! These old ears are perfectly satisfied with those sounds, and looks ;-).
Books are, have been, and always will be THE thing for me.
Friends (?) urge me to get a kindle. So much easier when traveling.
But what do I do when I read so fast...oh, of course spend more on books in the clouds!
When cruising there are libraries with books in multiple languages and I had fun reading German, French (slow), Spanish (somewhat faster) and , of course, English ones.


As I prefer short flights one middling large tome will get me through 3-4 hrs of being a sardine-in-air! After arrival (at least in USA) I make a beeline to the nearest thrift shop to select a number depending on the length of stay. Usually there are good sales and so I never lack books. After reading I 'donate' them back to the thrift store or trade them for others. So why pay 14 -25 $ for kindle enabled book which I can read in 3-4 hrs, 


As an example about a year ago I bought the paperback version of a certain (tome) book for $ 0.66, then checked to see what Kindle would charge for it - it was at least $ 15.00, then. None of the advertised $ 0.99 (at that time) books were of the slightest interest to me.
But all those that did catch my eyes seemed to be around $ 15.00-20.00 (then). So, for that trip of 10 days - say I read one book a day at $ 0.99 or better yet $ 0.66 - I'd spent $ 9.99 or $ 6.99...which would get me on Kindle not even ONE desired book!


Sure I could load the kindle up with whatever numbers are possible, but then again..
what to do after.
Will Kindle take them back?
Trade them in for another?
Kind "Kindle readers" please do enlighten me!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Das Rheingold a la La Fura dels Baus-Final Dress Rehearsal

I came with an open mind and had no earthly (!) clue what to expect of another 'modern' 'regie' production. The use of huge projections has become routine, methinks, and in this case IT truly made the piece, no doubt about that: the ring of fire, the black hole=entry to Nibelheim in bowels of the earth, the machinery of mass production of golden eggs being fertilized to produce ever more slaves. Which appeared as hung carcasses tended to by black clad 'evil spirits' under the whip of Alberich. 
These 'enslaved' carcasses were performed by an aptly named 'corps de ballet' (lol), who also served as gold treasure and Valhallas' cage walls in the stunning finale.


Now to the story - in brief:  Three Rhinemaidens frolic in water tanks attempting synchronized swimming moves, while mocking and teasing a bemused Alberich. Who retaliated by stealing the gold which will give him unheard powers whilst taking away any chance for real love!
Wotan has hired two giants Fafner and Fasolt to build Valhalla as home for the gods in payment of Freia, his sister-in-law who tends the trees and fruits which keep the gods immortal.


When he renegs on this 'contract' the giants take Freia hostage until Wotan provides them with the gold of the Nibelungs. Of which the crafty Loge has informed him and urged him to get.

The clip is from the La Fura dels Baus production, just not with Stefan Margita as Loge.


Meanwhile the gods hang in their 'cherry pickers' gasping for air from oxygen masks until Wotan can return with the spoils from Nibelheim in the bowels of the earth.


Accompanied by crafty Loge whizzing around on electric wheels - red back lit - Loge is after all the God of Fire, Wotan descends into an abyss where machines whirr, slaves are hung like slaughterhouse carcasses, to meet up with Mime who was forced by Alberich to forge a helmet which is empowering the wearer to become invisible and/or shape change, and also a RING from the Rheingold. The whole idea of this slaughterhouse (those hooks reminding of the ones Anti Nazis were hung in June 1944 after the blundered assassination attempt by Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators ?) and concentration camp (using slaves to work work work);  the egg production and destruction (are they meant to herald the (misguided) attempt to clone the perfect.. what? Humans? Slaves)? That concept is to deep for me, but what was one to infer from all those images?


Loge, gets Alberich to show those powers and when he is changed into a small toad - to  great laughter from the audience BTW, he is, naturally, captured, forced to hand over all the gold (in the form of the corps de ballet wriggling forms lit up with golden colors) and, finally as Wotan chops off his finger, THE RING.


Erda rises from the earth to warn Wotan and persuades him to turn over the ring on top of all that gold. The Giants return Freia and the curse starts by Fafner killing Fasolt. Rejuvenated Donner causes thunderstorms, Froh a rainbow bridge, and the gods move into Valhalla to be encircled by the (still ) hanging but moving ballets de corps bodies in lieu of a protective wall.


Musically, the cast and orchestra, under the gifted baton of Patrick Summers, sang and played well. Kudos to all for a uninterrupted 2 and half hours of Wagnerian sounds. I was very pleased by Tenor Iain Paterson's Wotan, Kristinn Sigmundson's Fasolt and Meredith Arwady's Erda.
Stefan Margita's Loge surpassed my expectancy with a clear ringing tenor with evil and sarcastic shadings, when appropriate. Alberich, sund by Christopher Purves started slow but ended with a powerful interpretation of fury!
Tenor Chad Shelton's Froh seemed a bit pressed vocally but the reason for that became clear at curtain, he was on crutches due to a foot injury. Of course, towering above the stage in his 'cherry picker' it was not noticeable ;-)!
Ryan McKinny's warm deep voice, while beautiful modulated and enunciated, lacked a bit of the expected Wagnerian heft. Maybe he was conserving his voice for the 'real' performances, as may have done Jamie Barton, the Fricka.
Melody Moore's Freia sounded scratchy at times, allergies?  Or maybe it was the weird cone headpiece she and Erda wore. Hers in white, Erda's black!
The 3 Rheinmaiden did a very good job singing after immersions whilst holding breath. But they had obvious fun splashing REAL water!!! Oh, yes, it was real water. Catherine Martin's mezzo voiced Wellgunde, Andrea Carroll's Woglinde and Renee Tatum's Flosshilde  matched up very nicely.
Rodell Rosel's Mime was at times inaudible, his whispers to Wotan caused by allergies? saving voice? or ? Otherwise he did a creditable job.
Andrea Silvistrelli's growly voiced Fafner, was not as growly as he has sounded in the past in other roles at HGO. Could it be that his Italian larynx (lol) had trouble wrapping itself around German syllables?  Well, whatever.
Both giants in their 'leggo inspired monster towers with Hampelmann like legs and arms ending in pincer claws' certainly seemed threatening enough. And yet the whole hit me (at least) with an  "oh gee, another techie effort to please the 'young audiences weaned on such from the film industry"? but it may have worked  judging from the enthusiastic applause and hollerings of a - mostly- YOUNGER audience with the true blue "older" opera fans sprinkled here and there.
Overall I liked it and would recommend it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lake Erie Monsters (LEM) vs Rampage 5-3


    Houser seemed to prefer staying on his knees more often that 2 days before vs Bulldogs. Sadly this last game of the season (for us) was another loss for the Rampage (BTW Monday night Florida Panthers, the parent NHL team for the Rampage, also lost). And that was not all, on arrival we were bombarded with posters "T-Bone is missing, never fear friends, he was unearthed in time for T-shirt shooting, which he did infinitely better than the team ;-); and last period animating...sadly, the team did not rally.
. LEM's goalie Sami Aittokallio, kept 28 shots away from his net, out of  31.


It looked to me, and Better Half, like a comedy of errors, this game. Lots of falling star(?)skaters;  dropped sticks without cause; a - whoopee :-)- fight between newbie Turgeon and LEM's Desbiens (a familiar name, eh?); players mistaking ice for grass and playing soccer with the puck; one Rampage skater playing 'giddyap' on a LEM's back, yes, he was riding high ;-)! Pucks lost or shot to where no 'teammate' hovered.
Bedlam in the 2. period.  Where was Ortmeyer, you ask? He was a scratch!


Penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct (helmet were ripped off) combined with fighting. And LEM made good on 3 PP of 5 by Sgrabossa, Eliot and Stollery, with Schumacher and Hishon getting the other 2. Rampage managed one PP goal by Gilroy, the other two were by Crabb and Gomes. Despite the standing tough here, Aittokallio stopped that puck, as he did 28 of 31. Houser faced 34 and saved 29, here is one that he did stop, with the rebound cleared away by McFadden... and so it went. Pleasing was the drive along carpets of bluebonnets and other 'wild' flowers, as well as some blooms on the nature trail which winds around the Wild Oak Ranch property. So good bye Rampage, ATT Center and WOR.. for another year!

Hamilton 4 Rampage 3 with pics

Well, well, well, Houser racing Leblanc to the front his net. Will he make it?

Ortmeyer and Mayer tete a tete-wonder what they chat about?
Major traffic jam in front of Mayer
ONE way to protect your goalie by bending to the ice? (#4)Drewisky invents new defense ;-)


Monday, March 31, 2014

Just a little hockey between Bulldogs and Rampage

Well, it was an entertaining game. Although the Rampage lost 3 to 4.

I guess the Bulldogs were just not too eager  (lol) because Ellis got a penalty for delay of game 2 minute into the 1. period. 

Rampage scored close to end of the 1. a goal by Crabb (photo to follow). Hamilton goal by Leblanc made them even in the 2.period. Then, during a penalty for Pateryn  Gilroy scored a power play goal for the Rampage and sent the crowds of over 6100 roaring its approval.
 Despite more penalties during all periods, the Bulldogs were unable to score.
The 2. period ended with 1:1 even.

Lee did score a shorthanded goal fro Rampage three minutes before the Paterkyn goal.
But the Rampage were not able to even the score.
Each team served ONLY 3 penalties, but only the Rampage made one power play, AND a shorthanded goal.
I spied Greg Zanon sporting an A.

I felt that both goalies Robert Mayer for Hamilton, and Michael Houser for the Rampage were quite evenly matched. Mayer 29 saves of 32, and Houser 22 of 26.  

However, twice Houser was out of place letting Hamilton score the 2 goals early in the third. Not sure, if the fact that Houser (Rampage) ended up 'butterflied in  his own net' which some eager beaver skaters pushed over him (lol), but he seemed less able to stop the 2 goals by Hamilton by Blunden, Tarnasky.  That fact also seemed to cause a bit of desperation playing by the Rampage but to no avail.
Houser did try manfully to stop that one which Pateryn scored in the 4th, within seconds of the end of game, giving the Bulldogs the win.

And more hockey on Tuesday, Lake Erie vs Rampage. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

THE PUPPY THAT CAME BACK AS A KITTEN

A story of reincarnation.
One morning the Nice lady of the house is adopted by a small grey haired feral fur ballGray Domestic Short Hair Cat Stock Photo Download Cat Royalty Free that purrs when it (for the moment) comes near the Nice Lady (we'll call her NiLa). NiLa rubs its belly and then, being that nice a Lady, she takes the little one into the house to give it milk.. All the while, the little one is very good at insinuating itself into the heart of NiLa by purring a mile a minute, snuggling up and - in general - behaving quite lovingly! And so, NiLa also falls in love with the sly one and names it Sloane.

Being a good human  NiLa takes Sloane to the Vet to be checked out, because feral critters could be sick with fleas, other pests, mange, or malnourished, although Sloane does look sleek and fluffy.

At the Vet Sloane is found to be a HE and, miraculously free from pests. But when the Vet recommends the usual shots Sloane hisses and growls. NiLa talks to Sloane explaining how important it is to have these shots. "They keep you healthy", she says, "and also protects others around you". Sloane cocks his little head attentively (can he really understand NiLa?). Then he jumps on the examining table and sits quietly raising his paw for one injection, then turning around for the others. No hissing. NiLa and the Vet praise Sloane and rub his belly, and between his ears.
The Vet discusses food and more with NiLa while Sloane jumps off and gambols over to a display of harnesses which he gravely inspects then paws down a tiny oneblue-extra-extra-small-diamante-velvet-harness-1242-p[ekm]1000x1000 ...and carries it over to the humans. "Gosh", NiLa says, "looks like he wants to go for a walk". "Yes, some cats can be trained to wear harness" answers the Vet, "And Sloane looks like he is ready". So NiLa buys the tiny harness in blue, because Sloane is a boy, after all.

NiLa and Sloane walk out. At the desk NiLa asks for the bill. The staff hands the slip to her. Sloane, all of a sudden, hops on the counter sniffing the bill, then growls big. He does not like the bill? Yes, that is it. He paws and shreds it. NiLa is embarrassed. Staff issues another one, for a bit less, but Sloane still does not like it. Meanwhile other patients in the waiting room growl, hiss, bark and whine with Sloane. Finally a bill is given which Sloane approves, paid by NiLa and the pair walk out.

Sloane behaves more and more like a puppy in harness, sniffing things, pawing at others. BUT when a big dog comes near NiLa, he goes haywire, growling and hissing with such force, even NiLa is alarmed.  AND the big dog backs off! Sloane protects his NiLa, doesn't he?
And so NiLa and Sloane lived happily, at least for the nine lives of a cat, ever after.

You know, dear ones, I really think that Sloane must have been a good bookkeeper, who came back as good dog, and finally was rewarded by being reborn as a cat.  Because they do say that 'dogs have owners, cats have servants'. Don't you?

Monday, March 24, 2014

I am bugged by...

This morning I read that and regret that in times when people grew taller and - yes - heavier (even if the  weight grows because of the height), they have to be tortured when they need, or want, to fly.
As a person of mumble years in age, I remember when...waxing nostalgically, ;-) although I did not make use of this when I flew over the Atlantic multiple times in the 60's and 70's. But I do remember dressing up, dining off real china with real flatware and sipping excellent cognac from real snifters! Even in Loftleidir, THE low cost line then! So what, we stopped in Keflavik to refuel, so what it went only to Luxembourg, and from there I had to take a - THEN direct - train to Vienna (which in 1. class was super.. had a compartment all to myself, pulled the two benches together and - voila - I had a queensize bed)! Plus Luxembourgluxembourg beautiful architecture was lovely little place to visit for a few hours after or before flying!
Ah, the GOOD old days... at least when flying ;-).







And then there is: myths and truths about healthcare here pre-ACA and elsewhere:


Here's what the United Nations International Health Organization says.
The Lancet study of a couple years ago is even more extensive.

Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
U.S. 65%
England 46%?
Canada 42%

Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received ?treatment within six months:?
U.S. 93%?
England 15%
Canada 43%?

Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:
U.S. 90%
England 15%
Canada 43%

Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:
U.S. 77%
England 40%
Canada 43%

Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:
U.S. 71
England 14
Canada 18

Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in "excellent health":
 U.S. 12%
England 2%
Canada 6%

And now for the last statistic:
National Health Insurance
U.S. NO
England YES
Canada YES?

Now these numbers seem to speak volumes, or do you believe UNIHO and Lancet lied?






And another thing that gets my goat (lol) - the  belief of "young ones" that they are the only ones to go green (lol) and this making the rounds on emails says it succinctly, at least IMO, but then per the young ones: "What does that "old fart" know!"  So I kept this which had been making the rounds some time ago via email:


Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older
woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags
weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing
back in my earlier days."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did
not care enough to save our environment for future generations."



She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to
the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and
sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and
over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing
back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused
for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags,
was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books.
This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our
use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were
able to personalize our books.

OR as I did with Oma's hand crocheted string bag-similar to this one,
and used newspaper to fashion cornucopias for carrying fruit, eggs and more!
crocheted string market bag
But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every
store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't
climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two
blocks.
And over there we used a carpet beater not a vacuum to clean rugs. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.  And where I grew up, we washed clothes by hand and and boiled the whites in a kettle over a fire,Wäsche wurde mit der Hand in einer Wanne (Wandl) gewaschen. then wrung them out- also by hand- and carried them up 5 flights to the drying attic.. in winter the clothes were frozen flat! And needed little ironing!
But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.


Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every
room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 



And over there a B/W TV set was a luxury..very few had one in the fifties.
We read books, and papers (which we also put to good use for many things-lining drawers, in the WC(yes, really-hint never use glossy papers!), cleaning windows, etc),
not kindles, we saw LIVE performances.
We met and had discussions, not stared at cell phones!

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have
electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile
item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion
it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up
an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower
that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to
go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.



We drank from fountains or faucets when we were thirsty instead of using a cup
or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled
writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the
razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just
because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.


Streetcar Vienna 1960's
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their
bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour
taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire
bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a
computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000
miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

And some of us over there made our own "Hausmusik" maxresdefault.jpg


But isn't it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we
old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?


Feel free to  mention this to another selfish old person who needs a
lesson in conservation from smart  (really?) young people