About Me

My photo
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!


Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Death in Vienna...

That IS Vienna in 1902, not Venice.
Although they both begin with a V (in English).
 "A Death In Vienna" is novel of the crime genre written by a bona fide British psychoanalyst-by-profession author.
So I was not at all surprised to find the book populated by notable names of psychoanalysis and psychiatry, albeit in very minor roles, such as Freud, Jung, Adler..etc.

But in the end it is detective novel. The wits and analytical reasoning, mostly based on the early, then still very controversial, findings of Prof. Freud, by the protagonist, Dr. Liebermann, saved the day for a more pedestrian detective - even though smothered in whipped cream, Apfelstrudel and other Viennese pastries (very prevalent throughout the novel :-)!) to distract from the facts. Hmm..or rather mhh.. sweets and sex do seem to go hand in hand, at least in this Vienna .. just saying!
After all where else does one call one's sweetheart ( there - sweet again) "My Dumpling", and other Kosenamen(pet name) based on culinary treats!

And accompanied by deliciously named coffees of the sort that one only finds in Vienna cafes and the Hotel Imperial lounge which is the venue for many meetings between the Dr. and his father. Even that may hint at analysis..father and son with conflicting ideas?

A bit of antisemitism thrown in-vide Mayor Lueger and cohorts, the protagonist is a Jewish Doctor.
A bit of political mud racking and cover ups -a public figure abuses governess with assist of his own wife -do make for a rather up-to-date feeling.
And the famous General Hospital of Vienna (est. 1697) where 'orthodox' medicine is performed (in the book) and the NEW fangled ideas of Freud and ilk are very much distrusted!
The Narrenturm at the AKH, built to house mad inmates, not too long ago was still used as housing for nurses and technicians in training at the Hospital-all rooms are round ;-)! well it does NOT actually feature in the novel but I thought it kinda appropriate ;-) to include the picture of it here!
It is actually well written, elegantly conveys the feel of that OLD Vienna, under the Emperor Franz-Joseph, on the brink of a new science.
But nostalgia for a fin-de-siecle life of a literature, a culture of
multi-ethnic influences which molded Vienna and Austria in history all comes together in the hands of this author. All in all, recommended reading on a hot summer day.
Other books by Author Frank Tallis are : "Vienna Blood" and "Fatal Lie".

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chacun a son gout.&.YouTubeAeros

Is blogging going the way of the dinosaurs? Do people really want to read more than 140 characters? I think most bloggers would like to think so! So keep on blogging, with more blogs sprouting in the web's garden almost daily. Some recently stumbled upon blogs are delectable especially when embedding *hot* stuff to view and listen to. Sometimes really, er, HOT! ENJOY the view..
*Hot*opera singer                                                           *Hot*rock singer
And Houston Aeros are NOW on YouTube:
Remember that game in San Antonio over 3/28/09 years ago?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

For a place in the spotlight....

people will go to extremes and so there you have:
Bra fashions from almost chaste (although raising eyebrows THEN)
Tina Turner

To Engineered (?)
Cher                                               Early Madonna

back to nature (albeit with some visible help ;-)
and finally to  'The firework bra' 
and "The defender bra" complete with machine guns. I did not post the Video ALEJANDRO where Lady Gaga (how appropriately named) sports this .... personal weapon! Readers, if THAT curious, can go and find it on YouTube for themselves. Let me just say I think she tries (?) to spoof Madonna as in "Don't cry for me Argentina" but with questionable taste and sentiments.
A sign of the times..no need for concealed weapons :-)!
Even the arts follow suit as in this piece or maybe it is meant to reveal the "INNER WOMAN" ..lol.
And what about length in hair some people go to ..for their second of stardom?
Veritable gardens on hats sported here at the races...nothing like the ingenuity of American race goers!
Well, this post has nothing to do with hockey and very little with arts, just a thing that bugs me-the depths of sillyness to out do anyone else.. an extreme 'matching the Joneses' perhaps.

It  does makes me wonder if  extreme and/or funny hats are seen at hockey games, too?
Anyone out there with some snapshots? Feel free to contact us and submit any amusing pictures for the enjoyment of all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cataluna bans Corridas...

What a surprise, or not, the 'PETA people', Catalonian style, win in Barcelona and Bullfighting shall be banned there. Now the PROU=Peta in Catalon are gearing up to spread their prohibition into the rest of Spain.
On the one hand, Bullfights featuring star matador Jose Tomas,are sold out weeks in advance.

On the other hand, in other parts of Spain the feeling remains strong that  "this move in reality has little to do with animal cruelty but has become a political issue in a region (Catalonia) where the idea is to ban everything that is Spanish''. The center-right Popular Party, which is fervent about the idea of Spain as a unified country run from Madrid - and also supports bullfighting - said it will fight back against the ban here.
Bull at Pamplona.."Running of the Bulls at San Fermin Fiesta"
Bullfighting is still popular in Mexico, parts of South America, southern France and Portugal.

Bullfighting was originally a sport for the aristocracy and took place on horseback, similar to the still-in-use Portuguese-style bullfight,
in which a costumed horseman, a Rejoneador, mounted on specially trained horses (see clip-traje corte)
'fights' with a rejon, but at the end the bull is escorted out, but killed in any case, since a once fought bull is no longer capable of giving good lidia.

Baroque style Dress

I realize that my experiences with Los Toros are not to everyone's cup of tea, as opera or yes, even, hockey is, but I have always enjoyed the dramatic spectacle of colors, music, ambiente, horsemen ship (in case of rejoneadas) and more,  after seeing my first one in, yes, BARCELONA, way back in the 60's. As I do enjoy opera and hockey !
Later on las corridas drew me to  Mexico City, the bordertowns. Visits to a ranch owned by retired Mexican Matador near Laredo just confirmed the special feeling for Los Toros. Although with experience, the TOROS became the draw not so much the TOREROS! Toreros seem to attract the younger aficion,  Los Toros the older groups ;-)
And so it goes.....we all are different...and that is what makes life such a challenge and rather exciting!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the ...est whatever ...Update

We now have had: the coldest, the snowiest, the hottest in the East, the wettest in the SW, and so on, day, month whatever of record per the weather folks.
We hear of the longest, the highest hockey contract offer.
We know about worst man-made disaster, treasonable leak of 'secret' papers, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, sinkhole, sandstorm,  typhoon, mudslide, forest fire, well that one seemingly has been kept at bay-it's the wettest July afterall!
THAT, ALAS IS NO LONGER TRUE.. there are huge fires in California (somewhat the usual spot for them) but even worse  are those fires in Russia, Australia and Asia.
Most obnoxiousVIP's /*stars's* 'foot in mouth' errors/missteps for which 'phony tripping off the tongue' apologies abound! All endlessly reported in the media..no one can escape that constant flow of negativity - and THAT really bugs me today.
And the list goes on and on.
If you disagree say so and "Try (a little bit harder ;-)"!

And talking about trying! What about the NEW NAHL teams in camp?  GM Dunn of the Corpus Christi IceRays is excited about the 17-20 year olds who came to try out for the team from Canada, Latvia, Alaska and other places in the US as well as homegrown ( and how grown.. several are 6'4 and taller) Texan talents. They are hard at work to show their prowess to be selected for the team, which under the rules of the NAHL cannot exceed 23 players by October 1st. And that is why I really like to watch the "Future Stars", may it be, of hockey, the arts, opera or matadors...youngsters of all kinds working hard to show off their talents.
BUT talent - seen as a gift - must be there first on which to build a successful career.
Especially so in opera - without a VOICE no one can make it - as this soprano who does have IT, currently at HGO Studio and  now singing in Santa Fe, shows..

Monday, July 26, 2010

Looking back on those days that were..

Those were the days..
Trask Photo -don't rightly remember?
when  Corey Locke and Matt  Beaudoin celebrated an Aeros win.
And we all sat on the edge of our seats : Will the boys move up to the semifinals? They did! Will they move to Finals? They did not. 
But it was a great and exciting year..that year!
Jerina  or Ahl Photo-don't remember?
And the next year we did not quite have such an exciting season but there were some highhlights as when  Anton Khudobin and Maxim Noreau skated in the AHL All Stars ?
Now an other Aeros season is to start soon in October with new and old favorites.
Will this be the season of the Calder Cup returning to Houston?
Can the new coaching staff make a miracle? Wait , pray and hope...OR one could wish that "Paul" the oracle octopus were here to be consulted ;-). But maybe he is not up on his hockey lore?
Apropos, Octupi, they seem to have some undervalued intelligence, or so researchers claim who have studied the species. A species, BTW, that has been around  prior to the 'fishy',-) ancestors, and is related to oysters. As one learns 'more or less recently' about the intelligence of primates (who evolved alongside homo sapiens..or so it is claimed), one finds that intelligence seem to be related to social behaviour of groups. On the other hand, Octupi are solitary creatures - so why would they need such intelligence? Studies show that theirs was developed to escape harm..the soft creatures are natural prey to many others in the waters. For more on this - fascinating (or not) subject - do click on http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/graphics/20100725_octopusGraphic/

"The Iceman cometh...."
In any case, it will be great to see hockey action, LIVE,  right here in the Bayou City, or Austin,
or San Antonio, or even Oklahoma City, wherever fans find themselves :-D ..

Good Bye LOIS, You have amused many, intoxicated some...and filled the coffers of the Museum of Natural Science whilst 'exhilarating' the senses of many!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Was man alles machen kann....oder auch nicht

Es ist Sonntag frueh und es passiert nicht viel . Das obige lief mir vor einiger Zeit unter die Augen.
Ich fand es amuesant und moechte es meinen Lesern sozusagen als 'Sonntagsgabe' vorspielen.
Habe vor kurzem eine neuen Editor installiert aber anscheinend gibt es damit Probleme.
Und somit ging ich zum alten Format retour.
Auf die naechste Zeit zumindestens.
Das 'neue System' hat jedoch so einiges was praktisch sein duerfte, aber halt noch nicht ganz von meinen 'kleinen graue Zellen (a La Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot) akzeptiert...
Werde halt noch ein bisserl damit herumspielen mussen.
Irgendwann erlerne ich es hoffentlich schon ;-!
Ja, Ja, diese neuen Techniquen sind nicht so leicht. Ausser man ist 10 Jahre alt, teehee!
Koennte natuerlich ein Problem der Uebersetzung sein.
Wie man diesem Photo entnehmen kann, haben auch andere solch ein Problem.
Es soll wohl Baltic BEACH Hotel heissen :-)!
oder vielleicht soll man dort 'to bitch'
d.h. auf gut Weanerisch....raunzen koennen :-D!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Balancing Game attendances ?

Readers know that I have been keeping up - somewhat - with the minor league teams in Texas. Because it's a lot of fun seeing those players doing it with love.. not to mention, their dreams for upward movement into AHL and -big daydreams - maybe even NHL.

So here is a bit on the start of CHL hockey"

Thanksgiving: the Evansville IceMen at the Dayton Gems; the Mississippi RiverKings at the Tulsa Oilers; the Fort Wayne Komets will play on Turkey Day hosting the Quad City Mallards. Christmas Day: the Tulsa Oilers hosting the Wichita Thunder.New Year’s Eve: Teams hosting games on New Year’s Eve are Allen, Arizona, Dayton, Fort Wayne, Missouri, Odessa, Texas and Rapid City.
and New Year’s Day: Colorado Eagles visiting the Allen Americans on January 1.

2010-11 Central Hockey League Home Openers
Allen Americans – Friday, October 15 vs. Texas
Arizona Sundogs – Friday, October 22 vs. Fort Wayne
Bloomington PrairieThunder – Friday, October 22 vs. Odessa
Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs – Friday, October 15 vs. Mississippi
Colorado Eagles – Friday, October 15 vs. Arizona
Dayton Gems – Saturday, October 16 vs. Evansville
Evansville IceMen – Saturday, October 23 vs. Quad City
Fort Wayne Komets – Saturday, October 16 vs. Rapid City
Laredo Bucks – Saturday, October 23 vs. Rio Grande Valley
Missouri Mavericks – Friday, October 15 vs. Odessa
Mississippi RiverKings – Saturday, October 16 vs. Bossier-Shreveport
Odessa Jackalopes – Thursday, October 28 vs. Laredo
Quad City Mallards – Saturday, October 16 vs. Odessa
Rapid City Rush – Saturday, October 23 vs. Colorado
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Friday, October 15 vs. Laredo
Texas Brahmas – Friday, October 22 vs. Rio Grande Valley
Tulsa Oilers – Friday, October 15 vs. Wichita

Wichita Thunder – Saturday, October 16 vs. Tulsa For complete schedule visit: http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/

AEROS schedule is not complete yet, times and opponents are still missing, even as 6 home game dates have been announced - http://www.aeros.com/

And from the opera world, we hear that Deborah Voigt will sing Annie in Glimmerglass next summer, somewhat of a departure for this soprano best known for her Verdi and Wagners. But will she belt it like Ethel Merman did? Maybe having sung "Fanciulla" recently inspired her to take on another 'gal with a gun role' -')?

BTW, I believe I was present when she sang her first Amelia in Verdi's Ballo en Maschera

at the Met, however her Tenor then was NOT Luciano Pavarotti (as in this clip from a recital), he had cancelled and a Japanese tenor sub'ed well enough but not a match to Voigt's powerful voice. And much later heard her sing Agathe in 'Der Freischuetz' in Seattle.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anchors away! "Knotty" things ..

Maritime Museum exhibits in Erie, PA on this exhibit indoors, a ship volunteer demonstrates how sails are raised or lowered or moved into the wind!
view from pier- onion domes in Erie!
Lighthouse light warns sailors away from shoals and other hazards.
All aboard, but first one must pass through the gangway..

USS Brig Niagara..was not available to tour on the day we were there. Volunteers (25 or so from USA and Canada) were tearing it apart to scrub and disinfect, to wash out a persnickety 'bug' that had sickened the crew earlier! And here I thought knots, hitches, bowlines, yardarms and sails are the real pr0blems on a wooden sailing ship. And bugs infect only cruise ships.. that just shows how ignorant we landlubbers are!
Apropos, the USS Niagara should not exactly be identified as a ship.
She is a BRIG and has two square rigged masts..
SHIPS have three masts and thus 9 yards....see expression below.
A sloop has only one mast! So now you know, too!
Wanna get hitched!
poster and samples from the collection of the Maritime Museum in Erie, PA
Wooden sailing steering wheel

Siple...he coined the "wind chill factor" - so that is how we know that it really IS colder than a witch's tit :-)!

NAUTICAL EXPRESSIONS creeping into the vernacular. Rather fascinating to me, and I hope to you as well..some did have changed from their original meaning.
To be three sheets to the wind-a person is not in control.
The whole nine yards- it has nothing to do with football ;-)! If one looks at a "typical square-rigger" -there are three masts with three yards on each mast. So if all of the square sails were a flying one would have the whole nine yards in operation. Thus it means THE works!
Mind your Ps and Qs. - sailors used to be told to watch their "Pea" jackets and pig-tails "Queues"-tarred hair.
Son of a gun -If paternity was uncertain the child born on board or land, was entered in the log as "son of a gun".
In the offing - 'about to happen'.
Batten down the hatches-prepare for bad weather/news.
Jury rig -"assembled in a makeshift manner" - not a "rigged jury";-)!
At loggerheads - nothing to do with loggers of trees!
Skyscraper - Not a building- actually a triangular sail set above the skysail to maximize the advantage of a light favorable wind.
Freeze the balls of off a brass monkey - Not what you may think ;-). On ships, cannon balls were sometimes stacked in what was called a monkey, usually made from brass. When it got really cold the monkey would contract forcing some of the cannon balls to fall off.
Field day - Day for cleaning up all parts of a ship which was on the way during our visit ;-!
Forging ahead -Going ahead slowly. Now it seems to mean go quickly !
Pipe down -"Keep quiet."
Halcyon days-a Kingfisher bird calming the sea at winter solstice
In the doldrums-meaning in a slump
Logging on - computer users adopted that one ;-)!
Shake a leg or show a leg--wakey, wakey! tars and gals (in port sailors could have female overnight guests) and need to shake a leg to show he heard the wake up call. If a female was under the covers...it may give the sailor a bit extra time to show up for his shift ;-)!
The cat's out of the bag-ready to punish-'cat' -(stringed flogging utensil usually kept in a bag)!
No room to swing a cat - on a crowded ship with all hands on deck to observe the punishment, a cat o' nine tails could not be used without hitting the observers-tight fit!

On the hockey front:
Aeros schedule not out yet. Palmer Hestley gone.
"Dimples" Khudobin stays in USA.
"Soft Spot" Mathieu Beaudoin signed with Coyotes as did Matt Climie.
"Blondy" Corey Locke signed by Ottawa,
Barry "Brusty" by Binghampton, Nolan Schaefer by Bruins.
AND what about that long contract by the NJ Devils for Kovalchuk of a $6 million cap hit for 17?
The Devils may care, I don't-much ;-)!
After all the Wild did this: Koivu's got a $6.75 million cap hit for seven years.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rockin' and Rollin' ..

I.M.Pei designed Clevelands' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - it really rocks.....
Over 6 stories high and filled with memorabilia of all our favorite artists.
To relive a period just click on a screen and you'll rock to the tunes of Hall of Famers...
inducted over the past decades starting in 1989.
Early on spiritual, blues and jazz, doo wop, country and western rock, even some classical and ethnic music formed the specific music of certain groups and singers.
Such as the varied songs of QUEEN

where one can hear echoes of classical composers.
Freddie Mercury had definitely a beautiful and well trained voice and sang opposite Montserrat Caballe in Barcelona

Costumes, posters,letters
instruments, photo, records and so much one needs more than a full day.
Add the numerous movies, video shows and such, and even a second day may not be enough for it all.
Hanging and costumed Trabants.
But this I took from the outside -
the sculpture of
THE glove!!
You know whose :-)!

For a complete list of inductees go to:

If one has time to spare - on day 3 or 4...
the Science Museum is just a few steps away.
The berth of the USS Mather
is there.
And a few blocks away is the USS COD,
a WWII sub..rather threatening and spooky looking.. "Have fangs to better ram you with" perhaps ;-).
Cleveland appears to be a clean, green city, breezy with wind mills here and there. Traffic was light, highways were easy to navigate.
Suburbs in Ohio all seem to be called "Heights".

Cross into Erie and the names change to "Hills"...as in rolling perhaps, because they sure are NOT high hills.
And the landscape does look like one imagines Amish lands to be. With horse, buggy, caps, hats and homespun clothes, covered bridges and fields of grapes, corn and much more.. and it all was sooo green, so very green and lush.

Back from the 1880's

The Athenaeum Hotel of a gracious era past!

Meeting Hall-'outdoors' full of Sunday worshippers

Lake Chautauqua

A Village Street - cobblestones, 'cottages', Hydrangeas
Temple of Philosophy

The Village Green
The Amphitheater-stage set for Bellini's NORMA
The feeling of being in a time warp followed us wherever we strolled...on cobblestone lanes, across the Village Green, along Lake Chautauqua front...up and down lakeside hills, past a plethora of hydrangeas and other flowers blooming profusely in the shade of old trees.
Children on bikes, trikes and on foot heading for a swim.
Old and Older 'guests ambling towards lecture halls & church services of multiple denominations, brunch at the venerable Athenaeum (at $45 a pop not too shabby -selection and service were great)
and always with the ubiquitous stadium 'tushy' cushions!
well needed everywhere - the seats were church pews! Hard as a rock (not of ages) but creaky and wobbly...well, there was NO way one could sleep through a lecture, service or performance..even WITH the softest cushions : -)! The place: THE Chautauqua Institution.
"The spirit of Chautauqua spread via Independent Chautauqua assemblies, and a series of traveling Circuit Chautauqua assemblies, incorporating many of the program components of the Institution, including lectures, music, nondenominational preaching, and a focus on current issues. Several Independent Chautauquas continue into the 21st century.It was founded in 1874 by inventor Lewis Miller and Methodist Bishop John Heyl Vincent as a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers. The teachers would disembark at Palestine Park, and begin a course of Bible study that used the Park to teach of the geography of the Holy Land."
And so it continues now.
The 'village' is a protected landmark -historic place. There are private residences and public places.
A postoffice, a fire department, a deli, a grocery store, galleries, 'drugstore'...
Minds, and especially souls, are nourished through lectures, services, concerts by Chautauqua Symphony, Theater, Plays, Entertainments, Operas and ever more sermons, and lectures all summer long over 9 weeks.
Every imaginable church has a 'cottage' there as retreat for its adherents!
But there IS also boating, sailing, kayaking and swimming on the lake;
and for lovers of the grape numerous wineries in the vicinity - Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.
And for "I love Lucy" fans.. Jamestown has a museum and playhouse in her honor!
The reason for our visit was, of course, NORMA.
Bel Canto singing at its best. All 4 principals were outstanding.
Soprano BARBARA QUINTILIANI portrayed the troubled Druid priestess Norma with huge lower register sounds, and astounding flexibility in the upper register.
Her pianos floated upwards with an agility and purity,
her chest voice produced sounds so low almost like growling.
She expressed the emotions superbly! And was well matched in sound and power of delivery by Mezzo Elizabeth Bishop as Adalgisa, Tenor Roy Cornelius Smith as Pollione, Norma's sometime lover and father of her 2 children; and Bass Philip Cokorinos as Oroveso, Norma's Father and Archdruid.
The Chautauqua Symphony under the baton of Joseph Colaneri,and the chorus of mostly young singers did stunning work.
This one only, and first time in the Amphitheater, opera performance in Italian with surttiles, was a 'sell out' (5000 plus attended)..'tushy' cushions and all. It was truly spectacular and a sensational event.
Naturally in this kind of space, there are good acoustics to some extent, but the performers were mic'ed nevertheless. But it was done delicately and did not overpower their natural voices.
Alas, no photography was allowed, so the photo of Barbara Qu. is from her earlier performance elsewhere.

Ambling home after was quite an adventure - no bright street lights...they, after all,
did NOT exist in 1880..;-) - and cobblestones do make for uneven walking!
No cars, just some jitneys for the less mobile among the guests, or the ones overcome by the unusual warmth and humidity for the area! Although owners of houses/condos/ apartments are allowed to park cars. All others MUST park outside the gates at 8 per car per day, and walk/jitney back in.
Day passes are issued at $50 per person to enter the grounds.
It certainly would NOT be cheap to spend all 9 weeks there!!
A night at the Athenaeum would run per person between $299 and 499 plus taxes etc.
The most reasonable inn is from $ 130 t0 300 plus per night-no breakfast, no food.
But is is a haven for families.. kids literally run loose.. no traffic to watch out!