I find myself reminded of the J. B. S. Haldane quote

April 4th, 2018

“Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, it is queerer than we can suppose.”

It turns out that some people are their own twins.

Then again, I guess I knew of the possibility, I just hadn’t considered how widely applicable it might be.

Daylight Saving Time funnies

March 11th, 2018

Still not healthy

February 19th, 2018

I’m still very hoarse and suffering from a nasty cough, and it’s getting old. I’ve already gone through two bottles of cough and cold medicine so far, as well as prescription flu medicine, cough drops, and a box and a half of Theraflu. I’ve been keeping my house warmer, drowsing much of the day, and not getting a lot of things accomplished.

One thing I’m really missing are the evening history sessions Marion and I had been having – we’d started working our way through Will and Ariel Durant’s ‘The Story of Civilization,’ and we’d been doing it almost every night for three weeks or so when I came down with this. I’d been wanting to read the series for several years, and Marion owns a complete set that she’d never gotten around to reading. We’ve been really enjoying it, along with various digressions that we’ve made. Two interesting facts we’ve run across in these digressions are that Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian ruler, was actually Cleopatra VII, and that there was a ruler (Bulan of Khazaria) who converted his entire country to Judaism after speaking with representatives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

I can’t wait to get back into it when I have a working voice again – I’ve been learning so much.

Not healthy yet

February 14th, 2018

I think I’m over the flu; my fever broke Friday night. My resting pulse is back down where it should be, as is my temperature.

Unfortunately, I have a nasty lingering cough, and I’ve had laryngitis since Sunday, so I’m certainly still under the weather.

I made French onion soup for dinner Monday. That turned out nicely, and hot soup on a cold night is one of my favorite things. The leftover soup was also pretty good for yesterday’s lunch. Scallops with pesto are in the plans for tonight.

I could watch this over and over

February 8th, 2018

I like cooking, and this popped up in my YouTube recommendations. Very interesting, and I think I’ll have to try some of the varieties. A lot of people in the comments complain about the wider shots, but I thought it was very effective and done quite well.

Under the weather

February 8th, 2018

I was diagnosed with Type B Influenza Tuesday. Not the really nasty Type A that’s been running around, but this one does offer GI disorders as a benefit. So much for the effectiveness of the flu shot I received. I’d started noticing symptoms Friday evening or Saturday, but I figured it was probably a cold. I got my flu shot earlier this year, so even though I knew this year’s shots weren’t all that effective, I was hoping I would be ok. Developing a fever Tuesday morning changed my mind, so I called for an appointment with my doctor’s office.

I was impressed with how quickly the diagnosis was made. It must be a new type of test, because I don’t remember this happening the last time I had the flu. They “stirred” an extra-long Q-tip deep in my nostrils, agitated it in the liquid in a small test tube, inserted a piece of indicator paper, and waited a couple of minutes. Bingo – instant diagnosis!

So, I’m now on the generic version of Tamiflu, which says it may not be effective on people who’ve had symptoms for more than two days, and whose major side effects include severe headaches and gastric disruption. Like I need more of that.

The one major warning I was given was to keep track of being out of breath, which is currently happening when I exert myself. If I experience it while resting, I’m to call 911, because “those are the people who are dying.”

Good to know.

Tuesday

February 6th, 2018

A couple weeks ago, I posted a video of ‘Tico, Tico’ that I liked. Since then, I’ve run across some more performances of it that I like. The first one is by Paco de Lucia. He gets pretty fast with his fingers on this. I used to have an LP or two of his. I’m not sure what the short bits that follow his performance are.

Here’s another version that’s pretty fun – it’s by Liberace. He gets some incredible speed in his performance.

Liberace was one of the more flamboyant performers I remember from my youth. I remember Bugs Bunny did a Liberace impression once or twice. Given his over-the-top wardrobe, I wonder if he had the same problem with the IRS that Diana Ross had – they were going to disallow the deductions she took for her stage outfits, but she demonstrated that most of them she couldn’t wear offstage – they wouldn’t allow her to sit down. He couldn’t make the same argument, since he performed sitting down.

Here he is performing ‘Malaguena’ and mugging with Sammy Davis, Jr.

And here’s another version of Malaguena, this time from Chet Atkins.

You can’t trust anyone anymore

January 21st, 2018

I’ve known for years that email addresses can be spoofed, and that phone numbers can be hidden such that you can’t tell who’s calling you – all you see is “Unknown number” or “000-000-0000.” What I hadn’t known is that phone numbers can apparently be spoofed, also.

Just now, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was local, but I get a fair number of local calls from numbers I don’t recognize. I never answer them; I figure they’ll leave a message if it’s not a robocall. Sometimes, even if it is. Either way, I’ve got some screening.

This one, however, had a woman’s voice saying, “Hi. I see that you’ve been phoning my cell phone several times and I would like it to stop. That number is XXX-XX-XXXX. Do not call that number again.”

Unless she dialed a wrong number, someone has been making calls to her, presumably without leaving messages, and making it look as though it was coming from my cellphone.

That’s not a thought that makes me happy. I’m torn between calling or texting her back to explain the situation, but what reason has she to believe me?

Tunesday

January 16th, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything on my website. In any case, I ran across the first video here, and decided it was time for a music post.

This is pretty funny.

I’ve long liked “Tico Tico,” and this is a very nice version of it.

Kimo Hussey is an incredible ukulele player. It takes a little time before he starts playing in this video, but it’s worth it.

I like this guy’s videos, and I’ve been working on figuring out how to play this arrangement. I’ve got the bare bones of it, at least for the verses. Still have to figure out what he’s doing for the solo, and pull out some of the melody he puts in that I don’t yet.

I’m back!

September 8th, 2017

Marion and I just returned from a European trip. Well, we actually returned last Saturday evening, but my internet was out. It remained out until last night.

I couldn’t get a tech over the holiday weekend; the first available slot was Wednesday morning, which I couldn’t do. Wednesday afternoon I was available, though, and when the tech came, it didn’t take him long to determine that it was a cable problem. The cable crew couldn’t come out until sometime yesterday, but they got my internet up and running again.

We were on a tour called “The Best of Eastern Europe.” The tour group leader (CEO, or Chief Experience Officer in the parlance of the company) didn’t agree that it was a tour of Eastern Europe; her opinion is that it was a tour of Central Europe. The company actually has a tour that goes to most of the same cities that they call “Explore Central Europe.”

The differences are that the “Eastern” Europe tour includes Poland, and the “Central” Europe tour is part of their National Geographic tour series. Joking around on the tour, we decided that that the tours were named as they were because the general public considers anything east of Germany to be “Eastern Europe,” while “National Geographic” readers are likely to know more geography.

We had a great time. I drank a lot more beer than I normally do on the trip – I’d have one or two half-liter glasses with most dinners. It was usually quite good beer, too. The only beer I wasn’t that fond of was the “smoked beer” that I tried in Cesky Krumlov. It’s a local specialty that was first brewed when part of a brewery caught fire, and they decided to use the barley that had come through the fire. It wasn’t bad, but I preferred the more usual beers, such as Staropramen. One of the other guys on the tour asked for “a good German beer” at a biergarten in Berlin, and was told that the really good beers came from the Czech Republic.

I was rather surprised at how hard it was to find restaurants serving traditional food in Berlin; the best meal we had there was actually at an Italian trattoria. Italian and kebab places seemed to be the most common.

Warsaw and Krakow were nice (I prefer Krakow). We got traditional food in each of those cities, and Marion acquired a taste for pierogi.

In the Czech Republic, we also got traditional food in both Prague and Český Krumlov.

By the time we got to Vienna, I was starting to tire of traditional foods. We attended a concert of Mozart and Strauss music in the venue that saw The Magic Flute’s first performance. The Instagram reviews the people sitting in front of us were reading described it as “cheesy but fun,” but we thought it was both good and fun, with no “cheesy” involved.

We’d been in Budapest before, so we hadn’t planned to stay there after the trip officially ended. We ducked out on the walking tour part-way through, because we’d already seen Heroes Square, and took a tour of the State Opera House instead. Much more interesting, and we took the tour that provided a mini-concert of two arias at the end. Beautiful building, with great acoustics.

We saw several castles, and took tours through most of them. We had a couple of extra days in Berlin prior to the start of the tour, so we took a day trip to Potsdam. We toured Schloss Cecilienhof, where the Potsdam Conference took place, then saw the gardens at Sanssouci. We couldn’t get onto the grounds of the third palace in the area (the New Palace, I think) because it was closed for a classical music festival.

In Krakow, we saw Wawel Castle, but didn’t take an “inside” tour.

We did tour Prague Castle, and attended a concert in the Basilica of St. George. If you’re there, definitely pay for one of the inside tours – St. Vitus’ Cathedral is not to be missed.

Český Krumlov Castle is nice, but not as impressive. The gardens are pretty nice, though.

In Vienna, we toured Schönbrunn Palace, which was impressive. We also had a very good meal at the palace cafe. The palace offered nightly Mozart/Strauss concerts, but we attended one downtown. The palace was on the far side of downtown from our hotel, and its concert ran later. Given that we were leaving Vienna the next morning, I wanted to get back to the hotel earlier, so we went with the concert at Palffy Palace.

I’ll probably post a few photos over the next few days, but it’s getting too late to do so tonight.