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!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Smiling is healthy, as is Olive Oil and Wine.


We have all heard that old adage "An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away", haven't we?

Now comes new (?) research in today's WSJ  which gives a new spin to that. So let us all smile for what's it worth ... and live longer and less stressful. "A Smile (big one, please) a Day keeps Stress at Bay"! Thank goodness for the Smiley collections which offer just the right one for any occasion :-D!
For Opera Lovers..the perfect smiley, no?
If only it were THAT simple, right?
And in another section of that wise paper, we learn that a Mediterranean diet is preferable to others.
A bit of olive oil and wine will keep you going for a long time, yeah
DUH. The people living around the Mediterranean sea have known that for centuries. Big Smile!

"Wasser ist zum Waschen da, auch zum Zaehneputzen" rhymes (sort of) an old (?) Viennese songlet. It means water for washing and brushing teeth, roughly. Smile!

Is there something in the Viennese air that disdains water?
Or loves it, like in "Das Suesse Waeschermaedel"(sweet laundress) long beloved subjects for amatory diversions and pursuits by the so-called Noble Classes, but ONLY as long as they were young Maedel, of course.
More smiles, please.

Vineyard near Carnuntum, Austria
Now we know that even the Romans preferred wine over (albeit mixed with) water. Emperor Rochus is credited with the cultivation of grapes in the Northern Regions of the Roman Empire.

Let's blame it all on the Roman invasion of the alpine countries.

After all, they brought with them circuses, good roads, hypocausts, spas, sports, and wine, plus Greek philosophy, to name a few accomplishments, to the barbarian North. Unfortunately, some of those achievements were lost for quiet a while.. hypocausts for instance... built in floor warming ducts! 

In Eastern Tirol, people for a long time thought that the
inhabitants of excavated Roman ruins must have been dwarfs. They just did not know about hypocausts :-)! If they had, living in the cold climes of the Alps would have been more comfortable during the centuries past until the invention of central heating, right? :-D!

Which are more causes to grin hugely, right? 
And if you love hockey you'll love this
Hockey Player Smiley ;-)?

So now that you have done the RIGHT thing for your health
reduced your stress, You are ready to go!
Have Great day!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In Shades of Gray

By Pablo Picasso.

Although the excellent exhibit at the MFAH is titled "Picasso Black and White" it would better be described as the above mentioned "In Shades of Gray" in my humble opinion, ;-).

Naturally since most of the pieces are on loan from various musea and private collection, taking photos was taboo. But with some diligence one can find most on the web. There was one though, a Female Nude on a door that was taboo even on the net, why - when other nudes were shown?
Ah well. Mine is not to reason why!
The MFAH Picasso in its normal spot

However, one piece from the MFHA's own was also there and I have been able to photograph it on previous visits. It is, as one could expect knowing Pablo's passion for women, lots of women,
a sculpture of a woman ;-).

Sylvette, on Loan from the McNay in San Antonio
I saw many shades of gray!  Perhaps, too many.. and I don't think the show included all that he did in his life! Plus naturally all those colorful paintings, and sculptures and so much more.
What a prolific artist, and lover, he was.

Lots of Picasso's favorite subjects are here - his mistresses/wives/girl friends although some would not have recognized themselves in their cubist or abstract forms, I think  :-)!
Marie Therese
As an avid reader, albeit clad,  this one did please me rather:
"Reading Woman' (she reclines, relaxed, nude, and reads..way to go, girl)

Of course, the one that really caught my eye - in a tee hee..
really ? way:  "The Kitchen" (as perceived by a male artist ?).
What do you recognize in it that denotes KITCHEN, I ask? 

Perhaps you see, as I seemed to, that there are more than one cook in it, or are those the burners?
I see bottles, and what seems to me an arm? A kitchen timer? 

A puzzle a la Picasso, no? :-).

The most interesting - to me - is Picasso's homage - hmm homage :-) really? to Velasquez'
Las Meninas. Here are both Picasso's - left,  and Velasquez' Las Meninas - right for comparison.

In which, I think, he entwines his profile with Velasquez (in the upper left). Do you see that, too?
And are those  meathooks on the walls? 

Cat, Fish and Bottle
Picasso's enormous oeuvre (he did live a long time,1881-1973, and kept working almost to the last minute) also includes. in shades of gray, which is the theme here : " Cat, Fish and Bottle"(a bit of beige did seems to have crept in here)  and "Goat skull with Bottle"
Goat skull, etc. (Tate loan)
and other forms of still lives such as these.

Having at the least 8 known mistresses, 2 of which he did marry, and fathering 4 children, Picasso truly liked the good life of "Women, Wine (all those bottles) and Paint" :-), right?
                                                (I substituted paint for 'song' as in the Strauss version ;-)!

IMO, his style mutated-matured ? from representational, cubism, minimalism (think Matisse lines of drawing), existentialism (think Dali) to finally the abstracts for which he is best known, with, however still somewhat recognizable forms (unlike Rothko, et al).
Julio Gonzales: Cactus Woman

The show is exquisitely hung and well worth an extended visit to take it all in. 
In case of gray overload, one ought to retire to the Cafe Express and replenish one's energy for another round of Picasso
or the even more contemporary exhibit stocked with pieces from the MFAH's own collection  just opposite the Cafe, which I am saving for a rainy day :-). Am posting just one sample.. another woman sculpture so Picasso's painted, drawn and sculpted girls won't feel alone :-)!

As a final  tongue-in-cheek homage to Pablo in his BLUE period, here I played a bit at editing photo I took of  the sculpture to reflect my mood when I first saw it in its regular spot at MFAH:
Picasso as perceived in a Blue Mood :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2013


You did good Matt!

Knight of the Night Matt Hackett lol.
The crowd of almost 13,000 was loud and boisterous. Perhaps that inspired the team. This was the night of redemption for Matt Hackett, who saved shot after shot by glove, pads to the tune of 36, playing like he used to way back when I dubbed Wundergoalie!
BUG Nr,2 Cody Reichard

The only goal for OKC was, naturally scored by that pesky guy, Arcobello with Mancinin  and Clark. And it just slid like a butter pat between his legs into the net, IMO he could do nothing to stop that. And that time the defense was not even close.
Kampfer's Goal
DaSilva Goal: OMG that went in and out so quickly :-D
But they learned and closed ranks the rest of the game:
We have your back, Matt..Genoway and Kassian seem to say
The BIG surprise came from a Newby named Dan DaSilva (Nr. 2 *) who got the first goal with Kampfer and Rau.

The second and game winner by Kampfer with DaSilva and Rau netted Kampfer the Nr, 1 *

Phillips and Danis whispering sweet nothings, maybe?

Medved beleaguered
The game was quite exciting. Both teams battled valiantly, neither could capitalize on 2 powerplays - Aeros, 4 Powerplays - OKC.

At left: Arcobello in place as ususal.. but this time NO go ;-)
Much honking on the way out. Celebration...win!

And so Good Night, all.


In advance of tonight's Aeros vs OKC game erupts.
Will he or will he not, revert to Wundergoalie status?
I am talking about Matt H, the established netminder for the Aeros. Who, as some will recall was touted as the coming Miracle goalie when he first played for the Aeros way back when - wait it was only a few years ago - with win after win.
Well, time will tell. Chers readers come visit this blog tomorrow morning for the latest!

Meanwhile I have been chuckling - a  lot - whilst reading this.
Especially the 1000s comments following. Some amusing, some realistic, some are - well - dreamlike and/or nightmarish, even!
Now, my dream retirement would be 6 mos in a climate that is balmy and warm in the winter, like the Keys, maybe- below.

And then transfer to a climate that is very warm but not humid in the summer. Like New Mexico- photo left.
But where Medicare (as long as it IS available) is readily available :-). And VA medical care as well, for Better Half. Where the stores do not close early, or at all on weekends. Where people still help sack and load groceries, where attendants welcome me with a smile and a 'How are YOU?' 'Did you find all you needed?' and wish me 'Have a nice ... whatever!'

'The perfect heavens on Earth', right? LOL!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


An interesting thing happened on the way to buying opera tickets in Europe ;-).

Step 1: 3 months prior to the actual performance of Le Danse Macabre (Ligeti) in Berlin, I went on line and bought two tickets just where I wanted them and had my e -tickets in hand within minutes! YESSS.

Step 2: For Staatsoper and Volksoper in Vienna  I was placed on a stand by wait list.
The Staatsopertickets were charged immediately, assigned within 48 hrs, but must be picked up locally!
The Volksoper tickets are still wait listed although charged to card already. I sure hope to know that we actually have them waiting for personal pick up when we arrive over there, BEFORE we leave here. As we will be without computer/laptops during traveling, a hard decision to make but we made it!  If I get computer withdrawal symptoms... I guess I can hunker down with relatives and use theirs ... IF they let me ;-)! Also the 2 hotels in  Milan and Hamburg (Hyatt) do have internet access for all guests!  Facebook and artandhockey readers will just have to practise their patience and wait for my return in June ;-)!

Step 3: The Oberto tickets at La Scala went on sale on a certain date, and when I checked I found just 278 still available. Of course I did not get up at 3 AM to be first in line (lol) but the process of purchase went smoothly and tickets are being mailed to us here. Not as fast and efficient as Berlin, but acceptable.

Now I do question why it is that the Vienna companies are so, ahem, behind the times?
Why not issue e-tickets or at least mail the paper tickets once they have been charged to my credit card? If a small Berlin Company can do the e-tickets, and a big Milan company can do an actual mailing? Ah, well really, I ought to have remembered that Viennese/Austrian "Kollege kommt gleich"(similar to "next window please") mentality.

But after 'mumble' years in the USA and, yes, even as I am as antediluvian as any when it comes to the web, clouds or whatever one wants to label it, yes, even then, I am a bit surprised with this dilatory offering by world class (or so they pride themselves) opera companies. Especially when all my relatives and friends bemoan the fact that much is only do-able via computer (i.e. get postage stamps... no longer to can be bought at Traffiken and post office closures right and left!) and much depends on Bancomaten! So there!

Never mind, I have most tickets in hand or promised for pick-up.
The trip is shaping up nicely. Both ships booked and paid,
Eurailpasses and seat reservations done - with only 2 more to do as soon as sale thereof opens up - mid March.
All excursions booked, and vouchers in hand.
Port and train station pick ups scheduled and vouchers in hand.
All apartments and hotel roomsMilan
(2 cities) booked and reservations confirmed by email.

Now to studying the MOBAL phones we bought to be used only over there and on any further trips away fro the good old USA ;-). And that, chers readers will take some time, technologically challenged as I am. Better Half with his mathematical brain may do a lot better, methinks ;-)!
                                                   And so high ho to sea we go, soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Little Gilbert and Sullivan, please

for this afternoon divertisement was just what the doctor ordered.
We went to the old courthouse to experience "Trial by Jury"!

What a nifty idea to present this short (all of 45 minutes or so) comedy/parody by Gilbert and Sullivan there!

In modern dress and with a modern, nay Texan, adaptation by Mena Mark Hanna. Alliterations to local law firms and even Halliburton were bandied about ;-).
This venerable First Court of Appeals at the 1910 Harris County Courthouse provided the apt stage for opera and Gilbert and Sullivan lovers alike.

The beautifully restored building boasts a skylight of delicateness and sweeping staircases with marble banisters.

The First Court of Appeals rang with the marvelous amusing sounds of Gilbert and Sullivan, produced by Cello and Oboe of the HGO Orchestra under Craig Kier.

Resonant sound issued forth from the imposing person of Harrison Gerald Moore as Usher (I'd called him the bailiff) realistically clad in police blues and black.
Hector Vasquez09AUG02-DD-HO --- Cynthia Clayton as Susannah with Hector Vasquez ... (here with Cynthia Clayton) sang and acted the bumbling, imbibing and love struck Judge with his inimitable panache;
Kevin Ray, the defendant used his strong tenor well, while
Andrea Carroll - a petite brunette sang her role as the Plaintiff with a rich soprano sound and emoted with comic fervor.
Samuel Schultz made a slick-looking (on purpose you think-naw) Counsel for the Plaintiff with a truly fine baritone.
The chorus men and women of the Jury added realistic touches... teehee! And to be sure that all in attendance in First floor and in Balcony pews saw everything the overhead screen was turned on as well! Jumbotron it was not, like the one at the TC where Basketball fans congregated in droves.

But let me just say this, I am sure glad it was ONLY 45 minutes. For any performances in this - admittedly - rather interesting and unusual venue I recommend bringing along upholstered stadium seats ;-) or at least plush pillows!

Dream .. and musing thereon!

Waking from a rather pleasant dream this morning I find I need to muse on dreaming. How dreaming changed as time matches on - maybe to the tune of  this Triumphal March from Verdi's AIDA (it IS a Verdi Year after all)


In my 'salad days of yore' dreams were full of optimistic things.
The next adventure, dancing all night, doing this, and doing that, achieving goals of stratospheric highs, perfect love, foreign travel, at times daring and maybe dangerous, reading as many books as possible in a week, having fun, experiencing things normal and crazy, nice and weird, (lol), feeling on top of the world-invincible, optimistic, devil may care.
There were dreams at night, dreams during the day - while riding the trams of Vienna....
Everything IS so unique, when young, isn't it?
I am I and so be it!

With age comes wisdom or so they say!
 Well chers readers, I can assure you it does not come easily.

Broken Bridge by Dali
My dreams are still as described above, with a few nightmares thrown in to cast a pall on happy anticipation.

I still dream  of adventures (albeit in more comfort than then ;-) if at all, and,  at least 4 * plus, accommodations are a must! Backpacking and hitchhiking... are just not on any more :-)! Sleeping on the ground - well... the less said the better :-)
Reading as many books as I can, maybe one/two a day IF eyes  hold!

Dancing, alas, stays a dream unless in the pool, then, yes, I am dancing still ;-).
                                         water sprites move over - hippo is on the move! :-).

Stratospheric goals - nowadays mean getting out of bed without 'charley horses'.
Or walking 10 blocks IF knees and back allow!

Doing, and wishing for, this and that oh yes, lost of wishing and wanting!
Mind and brain are as active I feel - churning and turning. Sprouting ideas like weeds - wild and daring ;-)! Too daring, you say? Not proper for old ladies?
Fie on you! Let me have my dreams and wants and wishes and hopes.
Oh yes, that never stops!  I need the alchemist with the right potion?
Don't care about gold, give me, again, agility. And let me keep mental clarity for as long as possible.

Foreign Travel...means going to another state in these extensive, and still largely uncharted by me, U S of A ;-).. mostly.  But a last trip 'home' is no longer just a dream.. it soon will be reality!
View of  my corner of Vienna with the church - Rudolfsheimer Kirche - (at far right in photo- sited across from my house) seen from the Gloriette at Schonbrunn Castle
More short naps are needed and so fertile grounds for daydreams :-)!
And those are dillies in the meaning of, things that are remarkable - not as in slang for Dilaudid (I am old fashioned-the current IN thing seems to be Oxycontin), or money, bones, dollars - although we all could use more of those ($) I'm sure...LOL.

As for my perfect love-well, now that I indeed have found, almost 45 years ago!  These two quotes say it well!

"If you love someone, let them go. If they return to you, it was meant to be. If they don't, their love was never yours to begin with..."

"Love is hard work; and hard work sometimes hurts!"

I am still I, and so be it - for some time yet! Amen!