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!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quick peeks into the IIHF and GOLD for USA Women!

Is this a Cousin of Chilly's??? :-)!
The Mascot for the IIHF 2011 Championship games in Slovakia!

  • During the IIHF World Championships Dennis Endras, signed by The Wild as a free agent last year and skated most recently right here at SLICE, wins a 2-0 shutout over Russia for a Germany, stopping  all 31 shots from a Russian team that skated Kovalchuk, Maxim Afinogenov and Tarasenko.
  • And the Americans leave Austria behind with a 5-1 win Montoya in net made 12 saves.
  • And Canada wins over Belarus with 4-1, although Burns and Clutterbuck did not score.
Other result from Friday and Saturday:
Finland vs Denmark 5-1;
Czech Republic vs Latvia 4-2;
Switzerland vs France 1-0;
Slovakia vs. Slovenia 2-1.
Norway vs Sweden 5-4

And the USA Women's National Team made it to a 3-2 overtime win over Canada Monday afternoon. Getting the GOLD!
That's the  third in a row win for the U.S. and the fourth time in the last five world championships the team left with the gold medal. Team USA at the IIHF world women’s championships now has four gold medals (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011) and nine silvers (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007) .

The morning after - in bits and pieces...

And I had a dream..
almost like the cartoon at right :-)!  Just a dream alas!

Maybe it is the weather?
The reports about the huge flooding this time right here at home, so to speak,  in the Midwest!
 Arcimboldo: The Water
The reports about those tornado related deaths and hard to imagine damages?
The fires which turns to ashes homes and churches, farmland and forests?
Arcimboldo: The Fire
AND THE wedding is over.
In case you wondered I did NOT get up at 3 AM to witness..there's enough on the news, the papers, the internet.  Although I must admit some of those hats did catch me unawares - the less said the better!
 Mad hatters Well, was it inspired by a certain cover?...

On the opera front, I hear/read
that Winnie Mandela has become an Opera - beatifying her!
This product of Canadians, premiered in South Africa to, if we can believe the write-ups, standing ovations!
And here is another take on it!

You know something?
I do like to be entertained and distracted when attending a performance!
Not hit over the head with a sledgehammer.
Life does that too many times already!
Just read the news worldwide, natural disasters, man made disasters, political disasters, fashion disasters (lol). You name it!
 Sledgehammer days seem here to stay!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Deeply regret...

to have to inform you of a loss tonight.

The Aeros lost to the Admirals at Milwaukie 3-1 in game 1 of round 2.

The honorable exception the lone goal by Gillies, O'Sullivan and Peters in the third..
Maybe the insertion of some new blood (Bulmer) or re-covered blood (Scandella) may have played havoc with the lines.
Or maybe they all got up early to witness THE WEDDING! 

Plus adding Windsor Spitfire Ryan Ellis (he assisted on one goal) fresh from the Minors to the Admirals roster did work out - tonight anyway.

From all heard via the Voice, Hackett was not quite up to it.
So, maybe flustering him by much flurried activity in front of his net,
did work to throw him off his stride, as some Bloggers suggested.

But then..maybe, perhaps, hope so....
the Aeros were just warming, and waking, up after their looong rest!

And the following games will be different!  
Yes, indeed, fellow Aeros fans.
                          Go Aeros!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


the long anticipated date with "Le Comte Ory" arrived. I, and a number of others, less than for previous performances (why?), sat in the freezing cinema bedazzled by vocal fireworks.
This well matched cast has sufficient secure artistic footing that those fireworks truly work.
And I mean WORK!
Plus they seemed to have such fun doing it - instinctively?
Tenor Juan Diego Florez with his agile, flexible, clear voice is the seducer willing to use disguises to gain access to the object of his desire. And he is soo desirable himself, with his flashing eyes, that twinkle and nudge, those smirky smiles, and such. And that he fills all sorts of costumes to their best advantage does not hurt as well, all this while tossing off high notes and higher ones with such apparent ease.
Phenomenal, he is a true Bel Canto tenor!
Soprano Diana Damrau  as the object of his affections shows excellent comic timing along a vocal display that thrills and drills to the core of the listener. And she too was stunning visually in her dazzling array of hot pink, passionate purples, frothy pinks displaying most of her physical charms - it's no wonder The Count and his Page are lusting after her:-)!

Mezzo Joyce DiDonato plays Ory's male romantic rival with male swagger and all -
she seems to submerge herself fully into the role of Isolier - 
and the laughs keep coming!

She amazes me - from the drama of Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) to the comic swagger of Isolier, she stands her 'man' - ahem part. She seems to get better and better!

As I mentioned earlier, these three principals are so darn well matched, each sings the heart out side by side- upright or prone, as the case may be :-), and, still, can be heard clearly with their own distinct vocal sound.
It was truly a joy to hear and see them!

All three eventually wind up in bed together by Act II. Yes, really!
And that was a feat of choreographing sinuous movements in a darkly lit -after all it IS night - bedchamber. 

The 'nuns' chorus is hilarious
The women's is decidely frou frou!
The whole opera/operetta is a delight for all senses, the visual, the audial, the 'funny bone', the tongue-in-cheek, the irreverent take on religion, the hidden sexuality, repressed desires.. and the gamut just keeps growing. All to a frothy, funny musical score. Yet the score does have some,though not too overt, sophisticated parts. Rossini's music is full of harmonic melodies which well serve the comedic ends of the piece. And the French libretto serves its aim very well, French is just the right language for comedy and farce with those overtones and undertones  :-)  - and since most singers enunciated the words very crisply, they were easy to follow! Merci, Mesdames et Messieurs!

Yeargan's sets are designed to fit the production within a production.
Sher's direction overall is, IMO, rather superb, he does follow musically and so the romp this Le Comte Ory is, is done to perfection. 
Maestro Benini conducts Rossini, I felt, a bit too carefully, and that holds back the fast and furious pace the score seems to require.
I have only one caveat! I truly feel this opera would be best seen LIVE and Live in a smaller house!
Not on the huge screen with amplification, or in a huge opera house!
That's what robs it of its intimate charm as the French farce it is meant to be, or so I think. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eine Deutsche Version

Es ist an der Zeit wieder mal auf Deutsch zu schreiben.
Nachdem am Sonntag die ARIADNE AUF NAXOS bei HGO ueber die Buehne gehen wird;
UND eine Freundin (aus Koeln zwar, nicht aus Wien, aber wir nehmen ihr das nicht uebel  ; - D)! mitgehen wird, da Bessere Haelfe was anderes vor hat, wird dies eben eine Deutsche Version.

Heutiger Houston Wetterbericht fuer alle in Europa: 
Es blaest ein warmer Wind, aber kein Wirbelwind=Torrnado.
In Houston zur Zeit weder Ueberschwemmungen, noch Wald/Wiesenbraende. Gott Sei Dank!

Rinder rennen vom Feld Feuer Naehe Marfa, Texas
Die Luftfeuchtigkeit ist  noch ertraeglich. Die ausgetrocknete Erde ist der Grund fuer Ritze in den Waenden und dass Tueren sich nicht schliessen lassen. Der Boden hier ist wie ein Schwamm, saugt sich wenn's schuettet, zieht sich zusammen wenn's nicht!
Resultat: Haeuser muessen auf eine gleiche Ebene durch Sanierung mit Pylons/Piers gebracht werden. Und das ist eine dreckige Arbeit, und das Drillen durch den Zementboden sehr laut.(Wenn bloss fuer Oel gedrillt wuerde - das waere dann auszuhalten.. teehee, hahaha!)
Und besonders arg, wenn solche Piers/Pylons im Inneren eingebaut werden muessen.
Wir haben das miterelebt!
Dazu kommt noch, die Wasserleitungen udgl. muessen an die neue Ebene angepasst, bzw.  neu zusammen gekoppelt werden !
Plus das Ausmalen und Verputzen der Waende, neue Fliessen legen, und so weiter.
Eine Sauarbeit und von den meisten Versicherungen NICHT bezahlt!
Na genug davon.. just nur eine kleine Vignette aus unserem fruheren Hausbesitzertum hier :-)!
 Zurueck zu  Marfa!
Marfa, Texas ist Euch vielleicht noch bekannt als das Dorf in West Texas, wo der Film GIANT= GIGANTEN 1956 produziert wurde - mit James Dean  (+) und Elisabeth Taylor (+) und Rock Hudson (+):
damals in 1956 als es noch OK war zu rauchen! 

Der Film ist auf dem Roman von EDNA FERBER (geb. 15 August, 1887 Kalamazoo Michigan, gest. 16. April 1968 New York) basiert. Und der wieder hat so ungefaehr das Leben des Texas Oelmann Mc Carthy (baute in Houston das Shamrock Hotel um ca. $21 Millionen. Es wurde am 17. April (St. Patrick's Day) 1949 geoeffnet mit einem Empfang, fuer den McCarthy mehr als $1 Million ausgab.
Ferber war ein Gast, und nach einem Interview mit McCarthy beschloss sie einen Roman ueber sein Leben zu schreiben. Das Resultat war GIANTS. Das Hotel wurde von der Hilton Familie in 1955 gekauft und in.1985 abgebrochen und an dem Platz baute das Medical Center Houston ein Konferenz Zentrum.
Der Grund zum Abbrechen: das Hotel zu gross, zu weit vom Geschaeftszentrum der Innenstadt entfernt usw.
Und so verlor Hosuton ein weiteres Art Deco Gebaude - schade.
Es war mir NOCH gegoennt, dort zu einem Ball zu gehen, das war ein herrliches Erlebnis.. fast so schoen, wie ein Ball im Wiener Fasching!
Und ich war auch dabei beim Abbruch! :-(
Ein paar ALTE Photos:.
Shamrock Hotel
Emerald Ballsalon
Ansicht aus der Luft
 Hollywood Wasser Ballet  im Olympisches Schwimmbecken

Shamrock Hotel -Adieu!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cleaning house...

that is deleting extraneous photographs .. you would not believe how long that chore took.
10 days working off and on.
And I already sent some into the void, wherever rejects go,
before transfering the selected few (lol)  to the computer !
Sifting, sorting, enlarging, editing, trying to sharpen the fuzzies ;-(!
Next will be videos... those that show mostly ice. Or legs. Or skates;-)!

That little point 'n shoot, does respectably but it will never get those kind of exiting close ups.
But, alas, any lens longer than 4 inches is taboo at the games. Unless one has permission to shoot!
With the camera I mean!
Mine already juts out to 3 inches.
For photos of the other kinds it is more than adequate. 
So I have printed some as cards to send to relatives.
Lookee, that is beautiful New Mexico, and more

Chapel of Chimayo NM

Chautauqua-Lake View
And there is Better Half, and here Yours truly, see how we've changed
(let the giggles fall where they may).
But enough.

Last night in the mood for opera I put on a DVD of "The Maid of Orleans" by Tchaikovsky,
performed and recorded at the Bolshoi. Sung in Russian. With English subtitles.
A suitably lavish production in sets and costumes.
Sometimes the staging/directions seemed a bit stilted.
But the singing was excellent.
Especially the soprano Nina Rautio with quite a range.
Here she is with an excerpt from that DVD!
Worth seeing and hearing.

The music was lovely lush and softly romantic. 

Although I prefer other compositions by Tchaikovsky.
Such as this:

Or this:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A feather could've have - UPDATE

knocked me down  (pun intented) the other evening...
ABC Ch 13 reported on the Aeros! 
In case you missed it!


As did another station!

With video!
With interviews!

What gives?
Finally they acknowledge the team's rise from the bottom of the heap last fall to the first one to sweep a round in the Calder Cup Play Off series!
                                                                     GO AEROS!

He's the current Nr. 1 Goalie in the Play Offs with 1.67 GAA.
Won 4-Lost 0,
Save 92.3 %

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bunnies and Chicks

No, not those kinds!
The other kinds.

After all tomorrow is Easter!
And bunnies, chicks AND eggs proliferate!
One lays the eggs, that we color and may find.
The other is said to deposit them so we can find them.
So how come bunnies lay eggs for us to find?

Eostre, Ostara, Hebe, Demete, Ixchel...each pagan religion seems to have had at least one, but usually many fertility goddesses. Also known as Goddesses and yes, Gods, of motherhood, childbirth, spring and agriculture.

According to Germanic folklore, Ostara finds a sick chick, turns it into a bunny so that its fur keep it warm.
But it still is a bird so it lays eggs even if dressed like a bunny. And so the Easter Bunny that lays eggs is born :-)!

Another version is related to Mary Magdalene, the first person to see Jesus after the Resurrection.
She was holding a plain egg in the presence of the emperor while announcing Jesus Christ's Resurrection.  
The emperor said that Jesus rising from the dead was as unlikely as the egg, she was holding, turning red.
But the egg turned bright red as he was speaking those words.

To reflect on the meaning of Easter and Spring, enjoy this hauntingly beautiful Music.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thrilled to be in Chicago

I am quoting from a recent article in the Chicago Tribune about the appointment of Anthony Freud to be Lyric Opera's new General Director for 5 years:

"His five-year contract begins Oct. 1 and extends through the 2015-16 season. He will serve as general director designate effective immediately. No salary terms were made public".

“I’m both honored and thrilled” by this appointment,” Freud said. “One of the things that excites me the most is the opportunity to get to know both the company and the city. I’m proud of the work I’ve done in both Cardiff (home of the Welsh National Opera) and Houston but I emphatically don’t believe in a generic opera company serving a generic city. Ultimately an opera company has to identify how it can do the best possible job for its audience and its city, taking its own characteristics into account.”

Now why does that sound so familiar?
I DO recall his speeches when he first came here!
Since he was so thrilled, then, to be chosen as HGO's General Director and CEO (an expanded title which his predecessor did not have) that he just last fall signed an extension to stay at HGO five more years, I do find interesting the coincidences of dates and years:
October 2010,
5 years,
Hmm. Lucky numbers for Mr. Freud, perhaps?

"It had seemed unlikely that Freud would risk the bad feelings of jumping ship from Houston Grand Opera, especially since in October 2010, HGO had announced with great ballyhoo its pride in Freud’s extending his contract to stay with HGO though July 2015. One might well wonder: What does such a contract mean in the opera world?"

(all Italics are mine)

But I remind my readers that contracts in the world of sports are equally not worth the paper written on :-)!

For more on this go to:

Well, life goes on. And so will HGO.
IMO a real asset to Houston's varied cultural life!

So Vaya Con Dios, Mr. Freud. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Latest Wild/Aeros Addition

Brett Bulmer
The following is a press release from the Minnesota Wild:
Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League club has signed left wing Brett Bulmer to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Bulmer, 18 (4/26/92), recorded 49 points (18-31=49) and 109 penalty minutes (PIM) in 57 games with the Kelowna Rockets in the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season. He set new career-highs in goals, assists, points and PIM despite missing 15 games due to injury. Bulmer added four power-play goals and three game-winning tallies.
The 6-foot-3, 186-pound native of Prince George, B.C., ranked second on the team in PIM and tied for third in assists. He recorded six points (4-2=6) in 10 playoff contests as the Rockets dropped its second round series to the Portland Winterhawks. Bulmer was selected by Minnesota in the second round (No. 39) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
And he will be here with Aeros for the rest of the season.
And here is video: he can fight, as well! ;-)!

My gut feeling is

Have you never used that phrase?
Perhaps reading the article below will give you other ideas.

Now, my gut feeling is that everything comes down from the top...as in this article


No wonder the local ABC affiliate never mentions Aeros..
but it's just my gut feeling!
I have NO hard facts or even factoids to back it up :)!

It is however, interesting that Nielsen Co says "audiences for regular season NHL games were up by 1.8% this TV season, they remain a fraction of the viewers for other major team sports in the U.S., as the League struggles to find new fans in the South."

Now the question remains in my mind, what about soccer?
That too seems to me a sport that is struggling to gain viewers.
And again just my gut feeling says soccer may be easier for the media to understand, follow
and report on!

Hockey, on the other hand, is so fast paced that it may be too confusing for most of the media?
I mean, just think how fast a patter the Voice of the Aeros has to use,
just to keep up with the action on the ice! And he has years of experience!
And trying to follow with a camera, that too is simply not so easy!
I think one would have to be able to 'sniff out (anticipate/hunt for)' the next move of the players..

                                 And in anticipation of the coming Sunday -

  Happy Hunting

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hockey, stepchild of the media

Hockey fever does seem to be a very localized epidemic :-)
Search all you want and you'll not find too much about hockey in the general media.

I flipped between local TV channels last evening to find out which would even so much as just mention the Aeros sweeping win in the first round!  

Guess what, on the 10 o'clock news ONLY one (11)
said one sentence. Just one itty bitty sentence

And if you got ready to turn off because Aeros were not mentioned earlier as they should have been (The only team in a play off this season in Houston!!) .. you'd have missed that one mention for sure. It came so late and so quickly, so easy to be missed.
And ONLY after exhaustive palavers on the loosing (excuses, excuses) Rockets, Texans, the maybe on and off again Astros, and all those parochially driven :-)! reports of school teams of any and all sorts.  BAH HUMBUG! 
No photo, not video clip.. just at the very end a very short sentence.
And the general printed media is not much better!
At least in USA Today they print the results, if not much else.
The WSJ is strangely mum about hockey lately - even as the Cup battles unfold.
Unless, of course a hockey players marries, or even just dates, a hot movie star or the likes, then THAT becomes news! Bah Humbug, again!

Of course in Canada it is different. Hockey IS covered in main stream media and blogs abound. So even if the blogs are slanted in favor of THEIR team, any news is better than no news.  Biased news, unbiased news...any news is good! 

Without those bloggers we' d be as stranded on an island - depending on bottle post Lol!
    Thanks, hockey bloggers (you know who you are) for your news about 'our' hockey.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flowers and Art AND UPDATE AEROS WIN game 4!

MFAH had a great idea! It invited garden clubs to display all kinds of plants, flowers and arrangements.

Some arrangements seemed to have been designed for just that painting on the wall.

Baroque Bouquet -Clay Statue
Some flowers are accompanied by 'themed' Photographs.
Roses in front of photos
It was a delightful day at the FLORESCENCE at the MFAH.
What joy for visitors.
Due to the nature of the show, it only is on for one more day-Wednesday!
Until the next time!
Matching arrangements to  paintings?  above and below 

 and on front of museum collections


Contrast in 3 D  and flat as also in colors

Flowers paying hommage to more Cruz Diaz 's - physicromies installations
totally awesome those, even without the flowers!

Prairie Eco scape

And here are some more photos by artandhockey to tempt you to go see it!

A nod to the permanent MFAH Asian Exhibits, perhaps

Phantasy woodland scape with pond?

Flower Power-wheel and Side mirrors?

2 GOALS :-)! by Aeros
Meanwhile in Peoria
Aeros 2 - Rivermen 1
The Aeros are the winners with a three game sweep!
Now they are coming back for some rest before facing the ?? in the next round.

Aeros climbing skywards....

well, how else to describe last night's game?
From 0 to 5 in 60 minutes!

Down by 2 after the First,
Down by just one after the Second and...
Up by 2 after the Third with their 3. win in succession!

Stayed 'glued' to Joe O'Donnell's descriptive services (lol) throughout the game.
The excitement over the steady climb from zero to 5 was easily perceived (I almost typed seen!). 
As I've said before he does it so well, one can 'see' what's happening on the ice!

Anyway...what a game!
I keep having to write this lately!
Soon I'll be running out of words to describe what's happening!

A team that seemed doomed - up until the injection of the O's!
Or the start of the New Year when the tides turned and the steady climb upwards began.
Sure there were dips way down here and there (that game vs Rampage! for one).

The coaches cracked their whips ;-)!
Or used  honeyed words (lol)?
The guys kept at it. Dug in their skates.
Their speed improved, their cohesiveness improved.
The penalty kill got better, their number of shots on goal rose.
They flew off the handle less-but when they did, they did in style ;-) !
And they just keep coming!  Up, Up and Away!
Ballon inflation Sedona, Az
Two more games up in Peoria, and then... one more here?
Aeros and Peoria have played 3 games, everyone else only 2.
So should Aeros win tonight, or  tomorrow, or even Friday here (game 6)
they will have a well earned rest 'til the next round!
And then they'll face the next opponent!