C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Drive: Liszt, Consolation No. 3

The well-known piano solo by Franz Liszt, as performed by Daniel Barenboim - and I dedicate this post to the victims of mindless hatred and violence in Pittsburgh, and all over this troubled world.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Roulé au Fromage et Jambon

Or how to make French ham and cheese rolls with puff pastry. I just happened to discover Stephane's videos the other day, and I've already shown a couple to M.P., who I hope will try some new recipes. Stephane claims he is a self-taught cook, and M.P. says he sure does know his stuff. He's also an excellent teacher, so if you like puttering around in the kitchen, here's something new to try.

PS - the word for today is charcuterie.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Drive: Autumn Leaves

It is astonishing to think that Eva Cassidy's exquisite voice was barely recognized while she was alive. Though she lived and died a relative unknown, I believe her talent must be accounted one of the greats of the twentieth century. Her genius is this: to take an old, familiar song and make it sound not merely fresh, but utterly new, to which one listens avidly as if hearing it for the very first time.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Meet Mrs. Swenson (1956)

LIve Better Electrically - click to enlarge

A well-plotted, well-acted little drama that is a cut above the usual promotional film.  In March 1956, American appliance makers and electric power companies united in a marketing campaign to promote "all-electric" homes chock full of comforts and conveniences - and why not?  The phrase the American dream was not yet in common parlance - but the American standard of living was the envy of all the world.

The long, grim years of depression and war were a fading memory, the postwar economy was booming, and new electric generating plants were being built all over the country.  The idea of an energy shortage was unheard-of, much less the bizarre notion of global warming.  The future was not only bright, it was here now!  And increasingly affordable for everyone.

The producer, John Sutherland, was a man of many talents who started out as an animator and voiced the adult Bambi in Disney's 1942 film of the same name.  All of the cast were seasoned actors; you can find biographies of most of them on Wikipedia.  Of special interest to us baby boomers with long memories are Michael Winkelman, who went on to play Little Luke McCoy, Walter Brennan's TV grandson, on The Real McCoys from 1957 to 1963.

And big sister should look familiar too:  she's Sheila James, who played the brash, brainy Zelda on Dobie Gillis from 1959 to 1963.   Later, using her real last name of Kuehl, Sheila went on to earn a law degree from Harvard and became the first out lesbian to be elected to the California state legislature, where she served for fourteen years, and is currently a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Related: I noted with a little sigh last week that the mighty Sears and Roebucks has gone bust, after more than a century of renown. Another icon of a vanishing America gone. Without researching the question, I suppose its decline began with the rise of discount department stores in the early 1960s - first K-Mart and the like, then Walmart, then all the big-box stores that dot today's landscape.  And then the Internet, which is the modern-day equivalent of the Sears Catalogue and its cornucopia of merchandise for sale.

Probably no one under 50 can remember when the Sears store was the heart of every downtown, and everybody went to Sears for all kinds of goods - just about anything you needed.  And of course that's where you went every Christmas to tell Santa what you wanted, and had your picture taken sitting on his lap.  If your town didn't have a Sears and Roebucks, you were really living in Podunk.

But Sears has been mismanaged for the last fifty years at least - when their market share declined in the 1970s and 1980s, they reacted by trying to be all things to all people, stupidly opening insurance counters and stockbroking counters and other goofy stuff that had no business in a department store. Finally, I think it was taken over by people who just wanted to squeeze out all the profit out that they could and the public be damned. Well, that's business in America, isn't it?  All too often, I mean.

I am no businessman, but it seems to me they should have concentrated on what they did best - Sears sold ugly clothing and mediocre electronics, but it was always the go-to place for Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances, which were all top quality. Well managed, those two things should have made a perpetual profit, even if they had let everything else go.

Anyway, that's all water under the bridge now. But for those who, like your Head Trucker, enjoy some juicy kitchen porn, here is a link to the Sears 1958 Kitchen Book, with color pictures and all you need to know to modernize and beautify your plain, dull kitchen. Have fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Drive: Handel, The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

Embed from Getty Images

I had hoped to post here one of the musical pieces from Friday's royal wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank; but alas, I cannot seem to find any of them on YouTube.  So by way of substitution, here is a jolly piece often played by my late husband at weddings, from Handel's oratorio Solomon (1748), as performed by renowned British musical group The Sixteen.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Am I Gay?

A guest post by my British truckbuddy Tim, now resident in Spain, in honor of National Coming Out Day:

Having asked Piers Nivans to move in with him, Chris Redfield begins to have doubts - about himself.

You don’t see too much discussion in the Nivanfield fandom actually between Chris and Piers on their sexuality. This tale is my take on the subject, laced with some personal experiences; because, like so many writers, there is more than a little of myself written into the principal characters.

As ever, your comments are most welcome.

Am I Gay?

Love Wins - My thanks to flashconan at deviantart, most appropriate!

Chris suddenly looked up from the magazine he was reading.  "Piers, am I gay?"

"Well, you're not always light-hearted, and er, you're certainly not carefree babe." 

Piers knew that wasn't what Chris meant; but it bought him some time whilst he came out of the book he'd been lost in, and focussed on Chris' question instead.  It was December 2013, nearly Christmas.  They'd only been living together in Chris' old house for a month or so, but already Piers had come to expect occasional questions like this from Chris.  Questions that seemingly came out of the blue, regardless of any current conversation or activity.  They often took Piers by surprise, but he always tried to answer them earnestly if he could.  His Captain, now his partner and lover, was not overly talkative.  Taciturn was a better description.  Piers had found Chris's private life mirrored his military image.  He was a man of action rather than words, and the few words he did use would sometimes shatter the silence like the sound of a bullet leaving a gun.

"What?  Carefree?  No, you know what I mean.  Am I, um, am I . . ?"

"Homosexual?"  Piers used the word that his Captain still somehow found difficult to articulate.  As if by saying it, some unspoken taboo would be transgressed and broken.

"Well, you invited your same-sex Lieutenant to share your house and your bed, not to mention your job and your life.  Yeah, I'd say you were gay.  Why?  Aren't you sure?"

Continued after the jump . . .

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Got Presidential Dysfunction?

A witty PSA from Robert Reich:

What I Say:  I don't know, fellas.  Seems like all the hateful, dumbass creeps and jerks who used to sit at the back of the classroom, throwing spitballs and pulling the girls' hair, when they weren't stealing other kids' lunches or beating up sissies behind the gym, are now in control of all three branches of government of the richest, most powerful nation on earth - and they mean to have their way.

They have been planning it for years, like a military operation, gerrymandering all the state legislatures and House seats they could - then selling their souls to the Devil to elect a completely unqualified President.  And now that they have achieved their goals, you think they will just throw up their hands and walk away from all that on account of some little midterm elections?  Seriously?

The fascist revolution was just made complete with the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  There is now no check whatsoever on the power of the raving right. In less than two years, our republic has been subverted and changed into a New Order under the guise of the old forms, for the present.  That's usually the way it happens, if you'll check your history books.

But in reality, the nation you and I grew up in no longer exists.  The outward appearance of a democratic republic is merely an empty shell now, and everyone is at the mercy of the Trumpocracy.

Despite Robert Reich's optimism, it just seems to me this state of things is not going to end well, or soon.  But I hope I'm wrong.  What do you think?

Update, 10/10/18, 10:30 pm:

And then there's this.

And this, from Mother Jones:

Click to enlarge.

So what good is a so-called free press now?  Is it in fact already co-opted by backhanded means?  Does it matter?  What does matter at this point?

Does anybody care?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sunday Drive: I Remember It Well

By request:  for Tim and Partner, the charming duet from Gigi, by Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold:

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

This and That, Part 2

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim, now resident in Spain:

Part 1 was posted last week; here is the conclusion. Your comments are welcome, as ever.

This and That

Part 2: Trivial, and not so trivial, pursuits

Morning Kiss by xTh13teeNx at DeviantArt.
Always a favourite 3D artist of mine.

Piers woke to see brown eyes directly opposite his. Two pinpoints of light indicated they were watching him intently. Somehow, he slowly realized, he had ended up on a level with Chris whilst they had been asleep.

"How did I get here?" he said drowsily.

"You were shivering, and, er, I had a nightmare."

Piers was immediately wide awake and alert, his voice full of concern. "You did? Are you Ok Babe?"

"Yeah, I did what you told me to do, wake myself up from it; when it got ….”

"Hush, it's all right now."

But Chris wanted to talk it through, so Piers let him. Better out than in.

"It was weird. We were sleeping in a tent, on a mountain side, right on the edge of a big drop."

Piers cursed himself for using for using the word 'edge' earlier. He never knew what might lead to one of Chris' attacks. An image, a song, or, like now, a single word. Much as he wanted to, he knew he couldn't wrap his Captain in cotton wool. But what he could do was limit the damage if and when such an event occurred.

Piers smiled reassuringly. "Life on the edge see? Like we talked about earlier, that's all."

"Oh yeah. Well, then there was this earthquake or something, the ground was shaking. Then there was this deep rumble, it was an avalanche. I threw myself over you just before it hit, and that's when I forced myself to wake up."

"Good thing too." Piers had encouraged Chris to do this; anything to prevent a nightmare from prolonging and possibly triggering a PTSD event.

"So what did it mean, Ace?"

Piers didn't know what it meant. He was an expert in many things, but reading dreams and nightmares wasn't one of them, if indeed such a thing were even possible. However, Chris was now looking to him for an answer, and it was Piers' self-appointed duty to find one.

"Hmm, the earth shaking, that was probably just me shivering."

"Ah, yes, I see! And the rumbling?"

"Well, that was either your stomach, or mine, probably both, heh, heh! I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. Listen, here it goes again."

Continued after the jump . . .

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