Monthly Archives: May 2011

Two Baroque Violin Virtuosos

I’m a big fan of the modern violinistic approach to Baroque music, which involves a very sparing use of vibrato — the opera-singer-like varying of pitch on a note is more of a nineteenth-century Romantic-era thing. Two modern violinists who hew (try saying that quickly!) to the Baroque way of playing violin are Andrew Manze and Rachel Podger. Watch these videos and take notice of how much fun they are having while playing one of J.S. Bach’s finest compositions And then they kiss at the end! I was charmed:

Larry

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Mizzled — A Quote

It took me many years to figure out how the word “misled” is really pronounced. Here’s a quote from the author of the Winnie The Pooh books, A.A. Milne:

When we read, we are, we must be, repeating the words to ourselves unconsciously; for how else should we discover, as we have all discovered in our time, that we have been mispronouncing a word which, in fact, we have never spoken? I refer to such words as ‘misled,’ which I, and millions of others when young, supposed to be ‘mizzled.’

Another quote, this one from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there, but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book, and ransack every page.

I do love printed real-world paper books, but sometimes I get annoyed that there is no search facility built in.

Larry

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More Virtuosic Music

More good musical stuff from Jeff Beck and a young woman named Tal Wilkenfeld, quite an impressive electric bass player:

Back when I was trying to be a landlord (unsuccessfully) in Hannibal, MO, one of my tenants played Fender electric bass, and we played together several times — me on guitar or fiddle and him on his bass. Curlee eventually descended into crack hell and pawned his bass. A shame, because he was a talented bass player. The last time I saw the guy he said he was in the process of becoming a Christian minister. So that’s where they get those people!

Larry

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Spring Scenes

It’s such fun walking around Quincy during this fertile spring — here are a couple of photos I took while I was doing laundry — this catalpa tree trunk is just wondrously twisted and contorted:

Hop clover is an alien plant from Eurasia, a legume which few people ever notice. I like it, though! Minute yellow flowers — I know you’ve seen it before:

Larry

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Thunderstorm Moving Through

Suddenly the sunlight dims and I hear thunder and rain falling. A Midwest thunderstorm can be quite dramatic! I looked at the radar map on the net:

This photo from the NY Times is quite amazing:

This photo reminds me of another one I came across somewhere out on the net — it’s a super cell thunderstorm, I can’t remember where it was; perhaps in Florida:

I wonder if this is the same front which brought such tragic tornadoes to Joplin and Oklahoma City? There is a tornado warning for this area…

Larry

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Tormented Dogs

I’m not too fond of small yappy dogs — I’m sure their owners cherish and love them, but they annoy me. The only time I’ve ever been bitten by a dog (skin-piercing bitten) was by a nasty little white dog — my ex-wife and I were visiting an old woman; they were involved in a quilting project. We rang the doorbell, the woman came to the door, and the little dog ran out and bit me on the calf. Dogs confined and banned from roaming and hanging out with other dogs inevitably become neurotic. The same thing happens with people!

Diagonally across the street from me there lives a yappy little dog. It’s an irritable dog and will yap for minutes at a time. If I had a gun here I’d shoot it.

I’m reminded of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Pale Fire, one of my favorite novels with an insane protagonist. An unreliable narrator, you might say. During one of the opening passages of the novel the narrator abruptly interjects, “There is a very loud amusement park right in front of my present lodgings.”

This is so amusing to me, as it is a way that the novelist can let the reader know that the narrator,Charles Kinbote, is not quite in control of his faculties. He’s twisted, brilliant in his own way, and as weird as Sheldon on the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”, but Sheldon is a nicer guy, and in his own way tries to do the right thing.

Larry

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Hosta And Iris Time

This spring here by the Mississippi has been just ideal for plant growth. No late frosts and just the ideal amount of rainfall. I’ve just been amazed as I walk around town by the profusion of vegetation and flower blooms.

I like hostas; they’re originally from Asia and they have a genetic plasticity which has allowed breeders to create many new varieties during the past fifty years. I’m particularly fond of the large-leaved blue-green varieties. I was amazed recently to learn that the plant genus is related to asparagus, but then I get amazed easily. Here’s a shot of a particularly nice patch of such a hosta variety just down the street from my place:

Is this profusion of blooms perhaps a single peony? I’m more familiar with the convoluted double forms, which old ladies in Knox County, MO call “pinies”:

It’s raining lightly here in Quincy this morning; I saw a woman with an umbrella across the street walking some small variegated-fur dog. I walked across the street and asked her what the breed of the dog might be.

“Gosh, I have no idea! My mother was living in Memphis and somehow she’d gotten this puppy; then my mother died and I ended up with the dog. She’s a friendly dog, but she’s twelve years old and has hip problems.”

I petted the little dog, and said, ” Maybe some Australian Shepherd blood?”

“Could be — she’s always tryin’ to herd me by pushin’ against my leg!”

Larry

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