Saturday Afternoon

Today’s earworm is this haunting song, “Clohinne Winds” sung by Niamh Parsons.

Oh, isn’t there just enough detail in the lyrics to lead you on like a will-o-the-wisp?  Who was he?  What happened to him?  Does she know what happened to him?  What’s the story?

And this one just because Maire Brennan has such a wonderful voice.  It’s from the film soundtrack of “King Arthur.”   (“Moya” is Eithne Brennan’s (“Enya”) big sister. )

I found something neat on Amazon for those who use a tablet like an iPad or ereader such as a Kindle or Nook, or a notebook.  It’s a holder for when you want to use it in your lap, or use it in bed.  You could also use it for a paper book or magazine.  It has a cloth cover, and fairly rigid pillow foam inside.  It came today and I can’t wait to try it out.  I’ve got one of those protective covers that holds my Kindle upright like a picture frame which is fine for a table or other flat surface, but it doesn’t work very well in bed.

I also found a little speaker thing that will work off my MP3 player, so I can go to sleep to music.  While it’s true I have the Squeezebox internet radio, which will access my Rhapsody account,  I have to put something over the screen to black out the light.  I like it totally dark when I sleep.  Even a digital clock is annoying.  This little speaker thing doesn’t have any lights on it, and I believe it has a smaller footprint than the Squeezebox.  It won’t be here until Monday, though.

I made another batch of Wolf Brand Chili and busketti (spaghetti), and I think I hear it calling my name.  A bowl of that sprinkled with Sargento’s Mexican 4 Cheeses with a side of a couple of biscuits sounds pretty good just now.

Once Upon a Thanksgiving

… Arlo Guthrie spent Thanksgiving with a friend name Alice who owned a restaurant and lived in a church steeple in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which had interesting and amusing consequences.  He recorded the saga of that particular Thanksgiving (see below) and later a film was made about it.

Hard to believe it’s been 46 years since that fateful Thanksgiving, but seeing as how this is Thanksgiving I thought I’d give you a little blast from the past.

You can take your pick from the original 1967 version or this 1990 “revisted” version. (Thanks, Bear!).

Hope your Thanksgiving is full of all the best things:  Eating a great Thanksgiving dinner at a table surrounded by all your favorite people, and having a great nap afterwards, or watching a great football game on TV, or otherwise disporting yourself in a safe and (relatively) sane holiday manner.

Soon as I post this, I’ll be suiting up and heading over to the folks’ house, so we can all go in one car over to the house of longtime friends’ for feasting, etc.

Happy Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah to one and all!


768In an attempt to determine the fate of Radio Ultimae, one of my favorite internet radio streams, I learned from Maer at OEM Radio that:  “The sponsorship of free bandwidth that Radio Ultimae  . . . [was] operating with ended this month. . . Ultimae Records did not put up a new stream. . . not certain if they’re still deciding about it, or whether they’re electing not to continue.  You can write the label heads at contact (at) and let them know that you enjoy the stream.”

The folks that brought us Radio Ultimae are also the same folks who run Ultimae Records, which has brought us the artistry of of Aes Dana, Solar Fields, Lars Leonhard, Mitek, Carbon Based Lifeforms, H.U.V.A. Network, Circular, and others.  Let them know you care!  If you like the music of any of their artists and want to buy their music, please buy from Ultimae Records if you can.  Their prices are in Euros, but they accept Paypal and Paypal can handle any currency exchange necessary.

Radio Ultimae was a “sister station” of Blue Mars, who I suspect suffered the same fate.  This is hard news for me, as my internet radio musical tastes are quite specific and there are so few internet radio stations that cater to the kind of ambient I like.  Radio Ultimae had so many of my favorite artists.  Right now, there is a big gap in my listening pleasure!  However, Maer at OEM Radio very kindly replied to my email query. You might want to give them a listen.

Calvin-and-Hobbes-dancing_1589On the upside, SomaFM has a couple of new channels:

Earwaves:   “The experimental side of electronics, new music, 20th and 21st century contemporary classical (minimalists and avant garde), progressive electronics, electro-acoustic, computer music and other mutant art-music forms. Not always an easy listen, often demanding your full attention. Earwaves has a long history, it originated on KUNM-FM 89.9 from 1979 to 1986 and then on KSFR-FM 101.1 from 1990-1995, and now has a home on SomaFM.

Deep Space One:   “Deep ambient electronic, experimental and space music. Music for getting lost in space, or just exploring. Tracks with a tempo usually too slow for Space Station Soma, but too fast for Drone Zone.”

You win a few and you lose a few.  Such is life.

Musings on the Interwebs and Other Things

I was thinking about the Sealcam just now, (the project is now over for this year) and the thought struck me.  I was looking at something that was happening on a beach 4500 miles away, and I was seeing it happening in real time, pretty much, with only a couple of seconds delay at most, and I was so blasé about it.  You look at something on a computer monitor, and you don’t think about all the things that have to happen to put that image there, or, for that matter, where the image is coming from to begin with.  There’s a certain unreality to it, like anything else you see on a screen (like TV) simply because it’s on a screen.  There’s this suspension of belief thing that makes it hard to remember that what you’re seeing has really happened, that there’s a reality on the “other side” of your computer monitor, too.  This sense of insularity is a dangerous thing. It breeds trolls, for one thing.

(change of topic) I did a transcript the other day about prostate cancer treatment strategies, and the dictator, a urologist, made the remark about how prostate cancer was a couples disease.  It not only affects the man who has it, but his spouse as well.  He then went on to say that the man should involve his spouse in treatment decisions and see that she or he is educated as to the pros and cons of various treatment modalities.  Yeah.  That “she or he” snuck up on me, too.  I was almost a full sentence past it before the sense of it struck me.  The dictator was just so matter of fact about it when he said it, like it was the most unremarkable thing in the world that a man’s spouse could be another man — which is exactly how it should be.  Yes, I believe that two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together should be able to legally marry.  Any two people.

EL SET DE LOS VENGADORES SE TRASLADA AL CENTRAL PARK(change of topic)  I watched The Avengers film last night on my Kindle.  Streamed it from Amazon prime.  Enjoyed it, actually. Especially Loki.  Hiddleston just walked away with the whole film.  The guy has some serious acting chops.  How many American actors could put something like this on the table: “I looked to Shakespeare and his great villains because that’s the stuff I did when training as a theater actor. Loki is an illegitimate son who is jealous of his brother — Edmund in King Lear is an illegitmate son who is jealous of his brother. Loki is obsessed with being king — Macbeth is obsessed with being king. Loki is a master manipulator, puppet master and strategist who will spin every situation for his own needs. Iago in Othello is a master manipulator, puppet master and strategist who will spin every situation for his own needs. Shakespeare wrote such deep complex villains and I’ve borrowed from his themes just for myself to enrich Loki’s psychology.” Is it any wonder there is now a cult of Loki? Of course, now I have to watch Thor.  And the new one.   Here’s Hiddleston being larger than life at Comi-con.

In knitting news, I’ve started on a second pair of socks.  I ripped the three cable shawl out, and now I’m doing a ruana.  I’ve started it in seed stitch, and I may do it all in seed stitch, or I may make it just a border.  I haven’t decided yet.  While I love my 9-blade pinwheel shawl, It’s just not big enough and it’s hard to keep on while I’m up moving about unless I pin it.  I’m making a bigger one in teals, but that style of semicircular shawl is best worn when you’re staying put, like at the computer or reading in bed.  A ruana lets you throw one side of the front over your shoulder, and at about 22 inches in width, one side is long enough and wide enough to stay put.

Happy Thanksgivukkah

Freedom_From_WantThursday is our traditional Thanksgiving holiday,  But this year Thursday is also the first day of Hanukkah, the eight day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights.  The date of Hanukkah is calculated based on the lunisolar Hebrew calendar (whose dates reflect both the moon phase and the time of the solar year, and which can have between 353 and 385 days per year) and the Gregorian calendar. Because the calendars are not calculated the same way, Chanukah appears at a different time each year on the Gregorian calendar, as do the rest of the Jewish holy days.

This is the third time the two holiday have converged since President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a holiday in 1863 that would fall on the last Thursday in November.  The first two times this occurred were in 1888 and 1899.

In 1939, however, the last Thursday in November fell on the last day of the month. Concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen the economic recovery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November. As a result of the proclamation, 32 states issued similar proclamations while 16 states refused to accept the change and proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November. For two years two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving – the President and part of the nation celebrated it on the second to last Thursday in November, while the rest of the country celebrated it the following week.

To end the confusion, Congress decided to set a fixed-date for the holiday and on October 6, 1941, Congress passed a joint resolution establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday, which would take into account those years when3059593-vector-background-with-menorah-stylish-hanukah-card-with-candle-and-place-for-text November has five Thursdays. President Roosevelt signed the resolution on December 26, 1941

This is the first time since the law went into effect that the two holidays fall simultaneously.  This convergence has been dubbed Thansgivukkah.

Quantum physicist Jonathan Mizrahi was the first to note that this Hanukkah and Thanksgiving convergence may truly be a one-time event.  Mizrahi, who works at the Sandia National Laboratories, said the candle for the first night of Hanukkah will be lit on the night of Thanksgiving two more times, in 2070 and 2165. But he said the two will never again fall together if the Jewish lunar calendar is eventually adjusted to correct a long-term drift out of synch with the 365-day solar calendar.

Thanksgivukkah is not to be confused with Chrismukkah, which is a different kettle of lox. Chrismukkah occurs about every three years.

‎ ḥanukkiyah, or chanukkiyah
‎Hanukkah menorah (חַנֻכִּיָּה‎ ḥanukkiyah, or chanukkiyah)
A reconstruction of the Menorah of the Temple
A reconstruction of the Menorah of the Temple










For the detail oriented, the menorah, a traditional symbol of Judaism, has seven branches.  The Hanukkah menorah (Hebrew: חַנֻכִּיָּה‎ ḥanukkiyah, or chanukkiyah) has nine branches.

Oh, Noes! We Haz a Snows. . .

IMG_1099 (1)IMG_1098 (1)IMG_1095 (1)IMG_1100 (1)This is what I woke up to this morning.  The icicles are left over from sleet that melted off the roof Friday and “wind chill factored” onto the bare branches.  Seeing as how it’s 28 F/-2.2 C out at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, don’t think it’ll melt much if any.  Glad I don’t have to go anywhere today.

IMG_1102 (1)In other news, my spiffy new mouse arrived yesterday and I set it up this morning in about a minute.  Works like a charm.  I really like it.  There is a slight learning curve regarding scrolling, but I’ve got it down now.  It even comes with a little soft cloth pouch so you don’t get the top all scratched up.  It glides smoothly and almost effortlessly on my mouse pad. There is a little bar IMG_1106 (1)underneath which is the “clicker” and it does actually “click,” but we will hope the clicking mechanism is robust.  Time will tell.

Mount Etna is erupting again, I note, and it’s blowing smoke rings.  Srsly.  Erupting for the 16th time this year.

For at least two weeks now, one of my favorite comic strips, “9 Chickweed Lane” has had  the characters dealing with agents of the “National Furtive Agency” spying on them, tapping their phones, monitoring their computers — at one point bugging Edda’s bikini bottom — and has been sending up the mentality of the agency he is parodying rather soundly.  Here is a case in point:

comic © 2013 Brooke McEldowney
Photo © 2013 Dante Shepherd

This little goodie from Dante Shepherd’s “Surviving the World” blog.

Matias Adlolfsson unidentified walking object.And this one from the art blog of Mattias Adolfsson, “Mattias Inks.”   He does whimsical little doodles and insanely intricate much bigger doodlesKeep Warm and Cuddle a Kitteh.  I love his sense of humor.

Below is my take on a winter version of the ever popular “Keep Calm” sign.  Good advice.

Freezing Friday

IMG_1087It is officially colder than the proverbial wedge.  According to my weather gadget, it’s only 25 F/-3.8 C outside at the moment. Our predicted high is 26 F/-3.3 C and predicted low tonight is 24 F/-4.4 C. Tomorrow’s high is predicted to be 30 F/-1 C with 23 F/-5 C predicted for tomorrow’s low.  Intermittently all morning, there have been tiny little pellets of ice pptting against the windows like blown sand, enough to whiten the ground.  I really ought to go find the little Styrofoam doodads that go over the outside water spigots, as the one just to the left of the back door tends to freeze, but this is the first time I’ve sat down all morning.   Later.  Before tonight.  I just hope I’ve got enough antifreeze in my car.

IMG_1090I’ve had a busy morning.  I loaded the bread machine to make a loaf of French, made a double batch of (American) biscuits using all three size cutters — 9 large, 6 small (about 1-1/2 inches/3.8 cm in diameter) and the rest medium. (I have to go sit with my dad tomorrow while my mom goes out, and I’ll take him the six small ones. They’re just almost bite size.)   After I got my baking done and cleaned up after and started the dishwasher going, I had the delightful chore (not!) of changing the bag in the Littermaid.  It only takes about 10 minutes, and it’s actually not very messy at all.  I’ve got it set up to use a 20-gallon trash bag instead of those expensive little plastic receptacles (I’ll do a post about how I’ve got it set up) and I end up having to change the bag about once every two weeks.  With this new litter I’ve been using, the used litter has no ammonia smell at all, and there’s almost no dust.

My computer mouse developed scroll wheel paralysis the other day — when you turn the wheel, nothing happens.  I periodically have been having trouble with the left mouse button as well.  It’s a little Microsoft wireless notebook mouse. I’ve only had it for about 6 months, and while I do mouse a lot — playing games, reading things in my feed reader, etc.,  —  and I’m on the computer quite a lot, one would expect it to hold up longer than that.  A shame, too.  It’s such a nice size and fits my hand so nicely. To replace it, I got a new Logitech wireless mouse that has no moving parts.  You move the mouse pointer by moving the mouse, the same as with any other mouse, but it scrolls and switches between pages like a touch pad.  With no moving parts, maybe it’ll hold up better.  I notice Logitech has a spiff wireless keyboard with the tapered edge I like that will actually stand on edge when not in use.  Hmmm . . . Christmas is coming up, and I have been a very good girl . . .

I’m making progress on the socks for my sock feet.  I’m almost ready to start the ribbed tops.  I’ve learned how to do the toe using Turkish Cast on, and how to do a Fleegle heel (video here) and I’ve learned to do two at a time socks.  I like the way the socks look done this way, and this method is transferable to making baby booties the way I like to make them (they look like baby bobby socks!).

IMG_1073_1  IMG_1076

IMG_1080IMG_1079  IMG_1082IMG_1085

The World of Steam

Crowd-funded Steampunk videos.  It was only a matter of time, actually.  I was aimed at this by the renowned Coffeem and even if you’re not into Steampunk, this little gem is worth watching anyway for the clockwork lady, who gives a brilliant performance, BTW.  The World of Steam is the name of the outfit. The people behind it have ties to the TV and motion picture world, — Buffy, Star Trek, Futurama, to drop but a few names — and the production values are very high.  I will be watching the website for future episodes.

Musical Monday

Terry Windling typically has a feature on her blog called Music on a Monday Morning.  This morning, she featured lullabies, including one by Clara Sanabras which was sung in Ladino, a language of the Sephardic Jews. That got me to thinking about the sound track from a film called The Governess a 1998 period piece staring Minnie Driver.  The film is a bit contrived, and has a very overwrought performance by an adolescent Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, but the soundtrack is simply gorgeous.  It was written by Edward Sheamur and features the voice of the inimitable and tragically short-lived Ofra Haza.  At one point the soundtrack features a Ladino love song sung by Haza (she learned it phonetically).

LA SERENA (The Mermaid)
(Lyrics of the track titled “The Veil”)

Si la mar era de leche
Yo m’aría un peshkador
Peshkaría mis dolores
Con palavrikas de amor.

(If the sea were of milk
I would become a fisherman
I would fish out my pain
With words of love.)

Dame la mano palomba
Para subir yo a tu nido
Maldichá ke durme sola
Vengo yo a durmir kontigo.

(Give me your hand, dove
So I may come to your nest
Wretched are you that sleeps alone!
I come to sleep with you.)

When I was researching the lyrics for the English translation, I discovered these are only two verses from a much longer song. Visit this link and listen to the whole song. Evidently, Edward Shearmur altered the tune to make it sound more “middle eastern” and exotic.  Fine with me.

The other song Haza sings on the soundtrack is this one:


Tu madre cuando te parió
y te quitó al mundo,
corazón ella no te dió
para amar Segundo;
corazón ella no te dió
para amar Segundo.

Adio, adio querida,
no quiero la vida,
me la marcastes tú.

Ya búscate otro amor,
axarba otras puertas,
espera otro ardor,
que para mí sos muerta;
espera otro ardor,
que para mí sos muerta.

(English translation
When your mother delivered you
and brought you to the world
she did not give you a heart
to love another

goodbye, beloved,
I don’t want to live
You made my life miserable.

I’ll go look for another love,
Open other doors
Hope for another love,
Because for me you are dead.)

I liked the film, but it retains a place in my heart because it introduced me to the music and the voice of Ofra Haza.