Archive for June, 2014

Having Fun With Classical Music!

June 30, 2014

Here is some Vivaldi like you’ve never experienced before (I would hazard to guess). These marvelously talented musicians seem to be having quite and enjoyable time despite the competitive and one-upmanship nature of this performance. A fun and entertaining display!

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How Would You Define Poetry?

June 29, 2014

Poetry is generally defined as “the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts  ” But here are some other definitions of poetry, courtesy of The Cynic’s Dictionary, that you may find of interest . . . I really liked the last one.

“An activity like dropping a rose petal into the Grand Canyon and waiting for an echo.”  — Don Marquis

“Not just when the lines fail to reach the end of the page.”  — Leonard Cohen

“An impish attempt to paint the colour of the wind.”  — Maxwell Bodenheim

“A comforting piece of fiction set to more or less lascivious music.”  — H.L. Mencken

“The devil’s wine.”  — Saint Augustine

“A form of refrigeration that stops language going bad.”  — Peter Porter

“Religion without hope.”  — Jean Cocteau

“What Milton saw when he went blind.”  — Don Marquis

“Cissy stuff that rhymes.”  — Geoffrey Williams

Source: http://www.dictionary.com and The Cynic’s Dictionary by Aubrey Dillon-Malone.

Let’s Go To The Movies!

June 28, 2014

Woohoo!  The tenth anniversary of the Traverse City Film Festival is about a month away (the festivities begin on July 29th) and the list of this year’s films was released yesterday!  So if you find yourself in the Traverse City area in late July/early August, and you love movies, then by all means make plans to attend this wonderful film festival.  Here’s a breakdown “by the numbers” of last year’s festival!

The 2013 festival
– 119,000 admissions
– 85% of available tickets sold to 188 screenings, of which 123 were sold out
– 102 features, 52 shorts across ten venues
– 150 industry guests
– 1,500 Volunteers, 250 Volunteer Managers
– 80 festival musicians
– MI Filmmaker Award – Paul Feig
– Bijou by the Bay added as a Venue
– “Compliments of the Festival” Free Screenings
– Closing Night Bash in Open Space
– Academy-qualifying status for Best Documentary Short winner

It just keeps getting better and better!

 

The Disappointment!

June 27, 2014

Here is another poem generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).

A handsome fellow, t’other day,
Easy, gentle, exceeding gay,
A fair, though arrant, prude addressed,
Was half in earnest, half in jest.
At first, the lover sighed and vowed,
No greater freedoms were allowed;
In time she heard him tell his pain,
She heard, but heard him with disdain:
He sighed, he wept, he prayed, he swore,
No honest lover could do more;
Whole hours at madam’s feet he lay,
And ogling, passed his time away;
But she, still deaf to all he said,
Declared she’d lived and died a maid.

A thousand apish tricks he played,
And sitting one day by the maid,
Held both hands out, and smiling said —
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,
Nine, ten; I’m sure I’ve told them right;
“All this I can do in one night,
“And, without boasting, I defy,
“A man on earth to do’t but I.”

This said, the cunning spark retired,
While madam, with the story fired,
Her fingers told. What! Eight, nine, ten!
“It cannot be,” then told again.
“‘Tis even so, yet I forsooth,
“With scorn beheld this matchless youth,
“Despised his love, despised his charms,
“But now the man, my bosom warms.
“I thought he made a little figure,
“And therefore treated him with rigor;
“But now he seems another creature,
“Improved in shape, in air, in feature,
“O! would the youth make love again,
“He should no longer sigh in vain;
“Though I’m a young and tender maid,
“I am not of his strength afraid;
“I’ll hug the dear and charming man,
“Then let him kill me if he can.”

Next day the bragging lover came,
And showed his fingers to the dame.
The charmer, who had laid aside
Her airs, her prudery, her pride,
Put on a smile, and thus began:–
“To me you seem the boldest man
“I ever knew; strange things you tell,
“You say you all the world excel;
“Suppose I have a mind to try,
“If you spoke true or told a lie,
“And you of your account fall short,
“When I’ve given up my maiden fort,
“What do I next?”  The wicked youth
Swore he had only told the truth,
What he had promised he’d make good;
And taking up a piece of wood,
On it ten scores with chalk he drew:
“Take this,” said hem “And see that you,
“(When I a finger do make good).
“Rub out one score from off the wood.”

On this the fair one was content,
They stripped, and to the bed they went,
Awhile the silent pair were dumb,
But soon the prude rubbed out a thumb;
A finger likewise disappeared,
Another two were quickly cleared:
Long time he kissed, then made a shift,
With much ado to clear the fifth.

Thus far he did his promise keep,
Then quietly lay down to sleep.

On this, the fair one, all in rage,
Her wearied lover did engage.

“What! traitor, am I thus betrayed;
“Is’t thus you use a trusting maid?
“Half of your number is to come,
“You want four fingers, and a thumb;
“You promised ten; say, did you not?”

The lover, who enough had got,
Without once changing of his hue,
Did gravely answer: “Very true,
“I promised, but I can’t perform;
‘But yet, my dear, you need not storm,
“I’ve done but half, I must confess,
“But many are content with less,
“And I, if you’ll forgive my crime,
“Will do the rest another time.”

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington.  He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning.  These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777.  He was also the author of a treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions.  He died in 1735.”  However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

Real Men Do Eat Quiche!

June 26, 2014

I have long been a fan of Quiche Lorraine (what’s not to like, it has bacon).  Lately, I have been making one up at least once a month.  Yum!  This recipe has you preparing your own crust, but feel free to purchase the pre-made crusts if you wish to simplify this recipe (time and effort).

Ingredients:
for the Pastry,
1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

for the Filling,
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1 cup shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
4 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

Directions
1.  In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

2 Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

3 Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch quiche dish or glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in quiche dish. Unfold and ease into dish, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired.

4 Carefully line pastry with a double thickness of foil, gently pressing foil to bottom and side of pastry. Let foil extend over edge to prevent excessive browning. Bake 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil and bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until pastry just begins to brown and has become set. If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon.

5 Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion in pie crust. In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining filling ingredients. Pour into quiche dish.

6 Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Here’s to Libraries, Number Twenty-Two!

June 25, 2014

Library_22Founded in 1134, the University of Salamanca (Spain) was not officially chartered until 1218.  Salamanca is the oldest founded university in Spain and the third oldest European university in continuous operation.  The university currently has 2,453 academic and 1,252 administrative staff to serve the roughly 28,000 students.  The library holds nearly 1 million volumes.  One of the more notable students: Miguel de Cervantes (author)

“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort.  A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your questioned answered.”  (E.B. White)

Source: photo courtesy of danieldalton.me  (BuzzFeed).

Traitorous Behavior!

June 24, 2014

When you think of the word traitor, one name immediately comes to mind: Benedict Arnold.  And, while Arnold may have been the first, the list has grown over the years to include such notable quislings as John Walker, Jr.; Nidal Malik Hasan; Robert Hanssen; Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; Aaron Burr; Iva Toguri D’Aquino (Tokyo Rose); Aldrich Ames; Adam Yahiye Gadahn, and Jane Fonda.

quisling

\ KWIZ-ling \, noun;

1.  Someone who collaborates with an enemy occupying his or her country; a traitor.
And, allow me a quick shout out to my brother Jim — Happy Birthday!

Live to One Hundred!

June 23, 2014

So, what is the secret to a long life?  Regular physical activity coupled with a proper diet (high in vegetables) could be the secret.  Both fight flab which helps to counteract life-shortening illnesses.  Of course having the right DNA also contributes a bit.  Here are the city rankings (courtesy of Men’s Health magazine, July/August 2014 issue).  The methodology used included the following factors: life expectancy of a man born in 1985 and rates of inactivity and obesity among men (Population Health Metrics); rates of men ages 90-99 and ages 100 or older per 10,000 population, ratio of single men age 75-plus to single women age 75-plus (U.S. Census Bureau); and the percentage of adults who smoke, have diabetes, and have high blood pressure (CDC).

Living Long
1.  Honolulu, HI
2.  Portland,  ME
3.  Seattle, WA
4.  Billings, MT
5.  Oakland, CA
6.  Manchester, NH
7.  Madison, WI
8.  Cheyenne, WY
9.  Tucson, AZ
10. Los Angeles, CA

Coming Up Short
100.  Chesapeake, VA
99.  Las Vegas, NV
98.  Jackson, MS
97.  Cleveland, OH
96.  Philadelphia, PA
95.  Memphis, TN
94.  Tampa, FL
93.  Columbus, OH
92.  Norfolk, VA
91.  Anchorage, AK

Source: http://www.menshealth.com/metrogrades

Managing Well!

June 22, 2014

Not all managers are created equal.  If you have worked for any length of time, you have probably worked for a bad manager (or two).  So when a good one comes along, do your best to enjoy the experience . . . you just never know how long it will last.  Here is an infographic on the qualities that go into the making of a good manager (and how to spot the bad ones — if you haven’t already mastered this).

ManagerInfoGraph

The Summer Solstice!

June 21, 2014

Today marks the official start of the summer season.  Here is a wonderful rendition of “Summertime” by Leona Lewis that will hopefully put you in the mood for summer.  Her sultry performance is certainly apropos for this sultry time of year in Oklahoma.  Enjoy!  If you want to get right to the “singing” and avoid all of the introductory stuff, skip forward to the 1:42 mark of this video. What a wonderfully rich voice.