Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Review: Bach's St. John Passion at the 2013 Boulder Festival

Cantor Rick Erickson
Stunned by the deep silence

By Chuck Smythe

The Boulder Bach Festival is always a musical marathon. As always, we had four back-to-back, 3-4 hour rehearsals leading up to the festival. It was followed by performances at St. Johns Cathedral, Denver, and Mountain View Methodist, Boulder. Then I went home, had a scotch, and slept for twelve hours.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A tour of California's Central Coast (Part 3)

View from our balcony
Mountain meander around Santa Margarita

By motomynd

[Sequel to "Point Mugu to Pismo Beach"]

After two very short nights of sleep and two very long days of travel—flying from Raleigh, North Carolina to Atlanta to LA, and driving Highway 1 up the California coast—we awake in Pismo Beach feeling surprisingly well rested after six hours of sleep. We have a long day planned—driving and exploring from Pismo to Santa Margarita, then on toward King City—but we have to take at least a few minutes to enjoy the morning at Best Western Shelter Cove.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fish for Friday: What makes you grouse?

I don't like it when....
Today's theme, as announced in last week's limerick, is what makes you grouse / When your friend or your spouse / Does or says something that wears you away?

My dear husband says "know what I mean?" at the end of most sentences he utters, and it REALLY gets on my nerves. Of course I know what he means!
    Fortunately, I'm crazy in love with this man!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thor's Day: What about miracles?

From An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, "Of Miracles"

By David Hume (1711-1776)

The authority, either of the scripture or of tradition, is founded merely in the testimony of the Apostles, who were [alleged to be] eyewitnesses to those miracles of our Saviour by which he proved his divine mission.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Adventure to Tortuga Island

Tortuga is across from Paqera,
beside the diver
(click to enlarge; hard to see)
Another day of Pura Vida

By Ed Rogers

By 5:45 am on March 16 our car was packed with all the stuff we thought we’d need for our junket to Tortuga Island. We justified the overkill as better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Our tour boat was operated by Varso Tours and was due to leave the dock from Muelle Turistico de Puntarenas at 8:00. Our house is a couple miles outside San Ramon, Costa Rica (which will be called CR from now on) and it's about a 45-minute drive from there to Puntarenas on the Pacific side of CR. There are a number of islands within Nicoya Bay; Tortuga sits at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The trip to the island takes one and a half hours.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks

more moral tales

By Susan C. Price

The following made me think that:
a. what is so simple to me is NOT CLEAR to many,
b. maybe none of simple,
c. i have no business discussing ethics....

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Review: Amour and Silver Linings Playbook

Love and death in two films

By Jonathan Price

Romeo and Juliet condenses two of literature’s great themes, love and death, in the liebestod of romantic young love, leaving both lovers beautifully and tragically dead before they reach 20. Most of us survive young love and our 20s and have gone on to watch a zillion movies which may be loosely designated romantic comedies. The romantic comedy may be one of Hollywood’s most successful formats, but a viewer easily tires of it or turns to sterner fare. This year Amour and Silver Linings Playbook, both nominated for Oscars for best actress and best film, discovered a new twist on this perennial motif. See them absolutely, but if you like surprises, you should stop reading here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: Our need for centripetal force

By James Knudsen

It’s late and I’m facing a deadline. I can’t blame writer’s block, I don’t lack for ideas. If anything, I feel like John Travolta in Phenomenon where his character has so many ideas that picking one is the problem. For instance, I think I know the cause of many of our problems with guns. Or how ’bout this one—a compare and contrast of the artistic model versus the capitalistic model? As a last resort I could just go on an extended rant, like the one I posted on Facebook last night, regarding the mendacity of conservative opinion makers of the lower biological orders. Motomynd’s taste in cars...too easy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fish for Friday

What's the theme for Friday Fish? I'll try to work something up to send you.
A very good question, that first fish today,
For there is no theme. But for next week, pray
    Tell us what makes you grouse
    When your friend or your spouse
Does or says something that wears you away.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thor's Day: Contemplative estheticism

Garance Le Guillermic plays
Paloma Josse in the movie
From The Elegance of the Hedgehog

By Muriel Barbery

I wonder if I am not turning into a contemplative esthete. With major Zen tendencies....
    Let me explain. This is a somewhat special "movement of the world," because it's not about a movement of the body. But this morning, while having breakfast, I saw a movement. The movement. Perfection of movement. Yesterday (it was Monday), Madame Grémont, the clearing lady, brought Maman a bouquet of roses....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Susan C. Price of her brother

Jonathan Price
at retirement
your turn to
answer the questions

By Susan C. Price

what led you to writing?
    I’m not sure I’m writing yet. I’m always a bit disappoin
ted or reluctant. So even to admit I was “led” sounds to me disingenuous. I’ve always wanted to write, or at least wanted to have written. Great literature has intrigued me from early on, and so I became an English major rather than a math major (even though I had done well in math in high school and college) and the more I’ve read of it, the more I’ve wanted to read. And so as you read more and more literature that you enjoy, the cockamamie notion that you could, or even should, write some surfaces. The trouble is, it’s not easy...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Ireland, Part 2

More Blarney

By James T. Carney

[Sequel to "In Erin (Against Ireland)"]

The guidebook recited the following famous rhyme about Blarney, which is near Cork and on the River Lee:
    On Galway sands, they kiss the hands,
They kiss the lips at Carney,
But on the Lee, they drink strong tea
    And kiss the stone at Blarney.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Third Monday Random

Reconciling sports and faith

By motomynd

Do you want to know when you learn simultaneously that prayer, mind control, and telekinesis don’t work? And that the power of positive thinking is a scam? When you are 14 years old, the superhuman Wilt Chamberlain comes to the Los Angeles Lakers, he still can’t hit free throws, and the heavily favored and much more talented Lakers still can’t beat the damn Boston Celtics after 10 years of trying—even with you banging your head against the TV and thinking all kinds of positive thoughts about the Celtics starters tripping over themselves and being injured en masse.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Review: St. Paddy's Day jokes

What's not to like?

By Jack Cover

One way of looking at the six Irish jokes up for review here on St. Patrick's Day is that they're ethnic jokes and we shouldn't be telling them to one another.
    But that's not the way I look at it. The Irish are tough. And they enjoy a good laugh. I'm confident they'll laugh at the following jokes, right along with all of the rest of us.
    However, some of the jokes are better than others, and I've commented as appropriate [in indented italics].

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A tour of California's Central Coast (Part 2)

Entering Central Coast region
(click to enlarge)
Point Mugu
to Pismo Beach

By motomynd

[Sequel to "Staking a claim on
California’s Central Coast

Heading north from Point Mugu, we settle into the rhythm of the road. The ocean is a crisp blue on our left, the sky a nearly cobalt blue above, and the sun is shining brightly. California is even better than we remember and today is all we can possibly want it to be—even on three hours sleep.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
We've met before and I really wish I
Were able to think of your name. Pish, I
    Cannot, I'm coming up blank,
    But forgetting has to rank
A catchy topic for today's Fish Fri.!
I racked and racked my brain, but couldn't remember any episodes of forgetfulness.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thor's Day: Much pomp and little circumstance

Aren't those Swiss Guard
uniforms spiffy?
Let's not watch the charade

By motomynd

So, have you had enough of the American news media being agog over the premature retirement of the old pope and the quest for the new pope? Even National Public Radio's Diane Rehm, an astute woman who normally has her thumb firmly on the pulse of what matters to Americans, has devoted time to this nearly pointless and irrelevant charade.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Two Morrises on one of them's being named after the other

Stand-in for Nephew Morris,
who wrote:
"unk mo i would rather
not be pictured"
Uncle Mo
How did the naming go down?

William Morris Dean here. My sister who lives in Arkansas surprised and amazed me back in March 1966 when she named her third son Morris Dean [Story].
     Morris had been the first name of our mother's father, Morris Voss. That is, I had been named after him, and also named after my father's father, William Dean.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Ireland, Part 1

In Erin (Against Ireland)

By James T. Carney

“Veni, Vidi, Visa” (or to paraphrase one C. Iulus Caesar of Brutus fame),| “I came, I saw, I used my Visa card.”
    There’s an old Irish song that tells it all. The first verse goes:

I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand,
And he said, “How’s poor ould Ireland, and how does she stand?”
She’s the most expensive country that ever yet was seen
For they’re hanging men an’ women for the lacking of the green.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: Why Marry? (theater review)

By Donald Munro

The title of the 1917 play “Why Marry?” is, of course, a question. Another that might come to mind is this: How could characters from nearly 100 years ago possibly have anything relevant to say about marriage as an institution?
    It turns out the answer is quite a lot, as we learn in Fresno City College’s studious and insightful production....
    Director James Knudsen modernized the production by trimming it from three acts to two and excising some of the repetitive and archaic language. Even when it comes to such “in the past” themes as women’s suffrage and divorce, however, what remains doesn’t seem hoary or old-fashioned....

Full review on the Fresno Bee website
Copyright © 2013 by Donald Munro, Fresno Bee

Please comment

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Review: Mother of Mine and Teddy Bear

Marjaana Maijala plays Signe
Three painful mamas

By Morris Dean

Two of the last three feature films my wife and I have watched happen to have had very strong mother elements. I guess lots of films do, since mothers play a central role in most people's lives—hopefully not as painful a role as in the two films here reviewed.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A tour of California's Central Coast

The California we all dream of
(click to enlarge)
Staking a claim on
California’s Central Coast

By motomynd

Life is unfair. Some people live in California, others only get to visit. So far, my wife and I have only visited. Finally, we are planning to move to the Best Coast. Just so you know, I have called it the Best Coast since I first saw it nearly 30 years ago—and I would have moved then if my first wife had agreed. I’m a career writer and photographer with a couple of stints in LA over the years, so the move would have fit.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fish for Friday

Based on the coverage of the "sequester," I no longer see any reason for the existence of the "real" news media. For the longest time many print and electronic media—like all those extra phone books—have existed only to sell ads, rather than provide a service, and now that seems the fate of "legitimate" media as well.

The sequestration cuts that began on March 1st were a part of a deal that Congress and President Obama negotiated in the summer of 2011 during the debt ceiling crisis.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thor's Day: Heaven on earth

From The Elegance of the Hedgehog

By Muriel Barbery

From "On Grammar, 6. Wabi"
At the door stands a courier....
    "Madame Michel?" he asks.
    He thrusts a package into my hands.
    "Nothing to sign?" I ask.
    But he has already vanished.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Nick Johnson on a failed relationship

What doesn't kill you....

Nick Johnson, the son of a friend of ours here in North Carolina, suffered the end of a romantic relationship last year. Having met Katie, we could appreciate what the break-up likely meant to Nick. So, some months later, we approached Nick about an interview on the aftermath. He kindly agreed. [Our questions are in italics.]

Nick, we believe that you and Katie had developed a pretty solid relationship of some years, is that correct? You shared a domicile and so on, perhaps pooled your funds? Please describe your relationship, so we know what we're dealing with here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday Voice

Today's voice
belongs to
Guest Columnist
Jack Cover
Oh, to be a patient hottie!

[Sequel to previous health status report]

My oncologist is happy. While I've had no CT scan recently, my blood tests continue to show that I continue tolerating my cancer medicine, Inlyta, in good shape. My doctor assures me that we have the tumors under control and will in the foreseeable future.

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to locate a post's comments

There are several ways to locate a post's comments

By Morris Dean

Recently someone wrote me that he had received an email notification of a comment and he wanted to respond to it, "But now, after an avid search, I can't find the comment on the blog. How do I find it?"

First Monday with Characters

Painting by
Susan C. Price
[Click to enlarge]
Edited by Morris Dean

André Duvall almost ABD
    André is in a doctoral program in music at UNC Greensboro. "ABD" stands for the limbo a doctoral student is in when he has done "all but dissertation."

I felt quite overwhelmed one week recently, since I was preparing to take, and then did take, my doctoral comprehensive exams. For three days, I wrote for 7-8 hours each day in an isolation booth, cancelling all of my classes/teaching duties; the two weeks leading up to those exams involves quite a large amount of studying, followed by a lot of catching up just this last week, after the exams were over. I feel I did well on them; it will be a couple of weeks before I hear the results from my committee. Glad to have that behind me!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog (a book)

Hedgehogs found out

By Morris Dean

The central, narrating character of Muriel Barbery's 2006 novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog [in French: L'Elegance du Herisson, translated into English by Alison Anderson] is Renée Michel:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

First Saturday Green 101: Trail of the Timberdoodle—Act 2
By motomynd

[Sequel to "Act 1"]

The American woodcock meanders as it migrates, and it travels less in a year than an Arctic tern does in a week, yet it is still one of my favorite birds. There is something about a bird designed for the shore choosing to live in a forest, and its overall charmingly quirky behavior, that endears it to me. There is a bittersweet attraction as well.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
It was such fun before to run some jokes,
We thought we'd try again with different strokes:
    This time we'll vent
    Two jokes we're sent
About two little good old lady folks.