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Monthly Archives: May 2021

Franz Schubert: Zum Sanctus

As I have said here before, few sounds on earth can equal the sound of well trained, well directed human voices singing together. There is the sound of the sea crashing against rocks, and birds in a garden on a spring morning, or children laughing and a cat purring. But, somehow, life on earth also […]

Defending against ticks

In the best of all possible worlds, there’d be no need for insecticides. But permethrin, at least, seems to be pretty benign. Permethrin is a synthesized version of pyrethrin, an organic insecticide made from chrysanthemums. The most scary thing about permethrin is how persistent it is. Clothing treated with permethrin can remain effective against insects […]

Some history of La Marseillaise

Please read the first paragraph before listening… The first important thing about La Marseillaise, I think, is that it is a hymn. Hymns typically are written in four-part harmony for singing — soprano, alto, tenor, bass. This hymn has been subjected to an infinite number of variations, improvizations, and outright murders. It’s not easy to […]

Peace of mind, and the weather

The basil in the garden is just getting started. This pesto was made from the last of the winter basil, which I grew in the kitchen windows. More about the mortar and pestle below. Living in the woods as I do — reasonably secure, healthy, and retired — my stress level isn’t very high. I […]

The joy of dieting

A diet-day main meal of scallops and roasted cauliflower in a creamy tomato sauce. Painless. To say that I’m an experienced dieter sounds like I’m making a joke. That’s because it reveals that, when I lose weight, I gain it back. That’s true. I do gain it back. But as long as one’s weight oscillates […]

Shadow and Bone

Who knew that Tsarist Russia could look so good? Actually, most of this series was filmed in Hungary. Not since “Game of Thrones” has a fantasy series been such a visual treat. I had watched the trailer for “Shadow and Bone,” and I was skeptical. But I heard good reviews from friends. I’ve watched two […]

An international recipe for progress

Scotland 2070: Healthy, Wealthy, Wise. Ian Godden, Hillary Sillitto, Dorothy Godden. College Publications (London), 2020. 218 pages. What would it take for Scotland to attain the same level of wealth and wellbeing as the Nordic countries? This book lays out a fifty-year plan for accomplishing that. What’s remarkable about this book, though, is that its […]

Blackberry winter

⬆︎ A cold spell in May is nothing new in this area. Older generations, more engaged with the weather than most of us are these days, called it “blackberry winter” — a cold snap while the blackberries are blooming. This blackberry has invaded my abelia bush, but I’ll leave it for now. Spring this year […]