Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Holiday, Great Caramelcorn

The Boar’s Head Feast was Saturday. This was the fiftieth anniversary, so it was a bit more elaborate. Leading the Beef Eaters, who are the first to appear in the procession, were two Scot pipers, wearing bearskin bonnets, kilts and spats. They sounded wonderful in the vast spaces of the Trinity Cathedral. We got there early enough to get seats in the center, so for the first time, we could see what happened when the entire procession – pages carrying the feast, Good King Wenceslas, the Yule Log, the Merry Makers, the Ladies of the Court, the Virgin and Joseph, the Shepherds with their goats and the Three Wise Men- all enter the sanctuary. Actually nothing much happens except that they sort of kneel in adoration and all. Because of the specialness of this year, there was of videographers recording the pageant. They were quite unobtrusive and careful with the animals which is very important, since there is a young woman riding up the marble floored aisle on a donkey, which behaved quite well this year, with no braying. It was, all in all, quite splendid. We decided to forego the Number One Pho in favor of getting back to Kent, as it was snowing that fine slippery kind of snow. We ended up at a local restaurant and had a fine meal in fine spirits.

One of the new treats this year was the supreme caramel corn from the new Totally Popped shop in one of the new retail area of the downtown. This is simply delicious caramel corn. It is, of course, bad for you and bad for your teeth. It is full of butter and sugar with a touch of sea salt. Polly had taken some back to a friend of hers in P-Town, who pronounced it not unlike crack. You cannot stop eating it. We had two large bags for Christmas, and I found myself begging others to please eat it. We all stuffed ourselves, while pleading for someone to please take it away from us. The shop is doing very well and will be expanding next month, along with the waistlines of its caramel corn junkies.

We had a lovely Christmas together with the new kitten, who somehow figured out how to fetch. Keeps us busy throwing things for him to show off this skill. He is a one cat entertainment center.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why Ask Why?

Today I read an op-ed piece by Maureen Dowd, titled “Why, God?” Of course it was about the tragedy in Newtown Connecticut. She turned the question over to family friend, a priest. He gave a thoughtful answer that was not really an answer because there is no way to answer that question. I have never asked that question, because my response would be “Why not?” After all, and after the fall, were we not told that our lives would be full of toil and struggle? I mean, if you believe that sort of stuff. I guess it depends on your creation story anyway. But where does it say that we shall never on this earth suffer pain and loss, disease and pestilence, etc.? No one will get out of here alive. The death of a child is probably the most nearly unbearable sort of loss, especially when the cause is so senseless and violent.

I am not sure why, when there is this sort of tragic event, people ask why God let it happen. I don’t think that if there is a god, s/he has much to do with what we do to each other here on earth. We’ve been killing children in the Middle East for over ten years now (called “collateral damage”) with smart bombs and drones. Their parents, if they haven’t been killed, too, are just as bereft as the parents in Newtown. This not meant to minimize the deaths and grief of the families there, but to point out that man, not a god is responsible for death and destruction of human beings, young and old. S, instead of asking why God let this happen, ask yourselves.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Noel, Noel

Since I was not up to doing much running around for the past three weeks, I was not able to get the usual Christmas card materials needed to print up my cards. So I am taking this opportunity to "send" out cards to friends and family and perhaps the odd stranger who happens upon this blog. I did this drawing at about the time the kitten arrived here. I had assumed that he would turn the Christmas tree into his own private gymnasium. However, with a little judicious use of a spray water bottle, John taught him early that the tree was not for him to leap about on. He, the cat, is a fast learner and he has let the tree alone.He has had plenty of attention from his adoring family. Sally got him his own cat stocking full of little toys, although discarded wrapping paper has proven to be the equivalent of a toy box. He pounces like  Milne's Tigger. Last night he played for an hour with a twist tie. Would that we all could be satisfied with such simplicity of amusement.
As I write this, the Christmas dinner is cooking away in the slow cooker, thanks to Polly's culinary skills. John fixed a big breakfast, so we are pretty sated. We have vowed to do some singing tonight, putting away the IPad and ITouch devices. We had Facetimed the German branch of the family, while they have already had dinner, cooked by Emily, Chris and Katina, it looked spectacular via Facetime.
The kitten finally has a name, Sixto, after a baseball player Since the late, great Dupree was named for a football player, this seems to be natural for a cat name. He will probably end up with some other name, but that will do for now. Right now he is stretched out on a soft chair, plumb tuckered out from chasing paper and twist ties. He makes his first appearance on my Christmas card, replacing Dupree, who had the starring role for many years.We hope he will be able to carry on in this role for many years himself.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Paging Dr. IPad

In the previous post, I wondered what John Cage would have made of the available digital media we now have at our disposal. I had occasion to make use of its capabilities the other day. For some reason, my shoe stuck to the carpet and I fell, hitting the ground with my right knee and also banging my head on the floor. Since I had on reading glasses at the time, I ended up with a black eye and a very sore knee. Cosmetically, the eye was unpleasant, but not painful. The knee, however, did hurt quite a bit. I missed the opera at the theater “A Masked Ball”, deciding to rest with an ice pack, while I listened to it on the radio.

When it still hurt the next day, I decided to try an experiment with the IPad. I  Facetimed my brother Michael, a retired orthopedic surgeon. He thought it looked terrible. Well, I have never had great legs or knees, but it was the bruising that bothered him. There was also a small rug burn abrasion. Anyway, under his professional guidance, I poked here and there reporting on the results. He advised an X-ray and staying off it as much as possible. He wanted to make sure that the tibia was not fractured, which would mean staying off the leg for 5 to 6 weeks.

The next day I called my doctor (an internist) and asked for an X-ray order at the imaging center next to his office. I also asked Michael to email specific instructions to the tech, which I printed and took with me to the lab. Good thing I did, for the doctor, not being a bone person, had just written an order to X-ray the right knee. Fortunately the tech took my brother’s instructions and did what needed to be done.

I don’t’ have the results yet, but I have babied the injured joint and it feels much better. My doctor never calls me with the test results, so I have to call him and see what the radiologist found.

Anyway, I thank my IPad and my brother for their excellent service in this matter and think it was just a dandy way to deal with this, rather than spend hours in the ER.

Musical Cognitive Dissonance

I am a couple of weeks late with this dispatch from the world of music. Two weeks ago I attended two such disparate events as to leave my brain chasing its tail, so to speak.

The first was the Met HD presentation of “La Clemnza di Tito,” a Mozart opera about the Emperor Titus of Early Rome. He put up with a lot of goddam treasonous crap from an ambitious woman and his best friend, but unlike a lot of off-with-their-head types, he forgave them and nobody died, which, if you want to know, doesn’t happen a lot in opera after they’ve been singing like bastards for a couple of hours. The music, being by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was beautiful and the singers were worthy. This was in the afternoon.

That evening, I went to a “Celebration 0f the Centenary of John Cage,” who, if you didn’t know, considered all sound to be music. It was presented by the New Music division of the Kent State School of Music. I have been attending these concerts for a couple of years now, and in spite of the fact that this is not my kind of music at all, I have really enjoyed these performances. The director of the program is the former conductor of the university symphony orchestra and a composer and a very fine person. The students are enthusiastic and energetic and very, very talented. The music can be very difficult, but can also be a lot of fun and quite beautiful. This Cage concert included the famous 433, which involves a pianist coming on stage, sitting at the piano and sitting at the piano and sitting sat the piano – for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. A smart ass frond of mind times it and he actually sat there for 5 minutes, but John Cage did materialize to discipline him with a siren or a rain stick, both of which were heard in other parts of the program. People stood around in various parts of the hall, reading excerpts from John Cage’s writings. Noises were heard both off and on.  There was an exciting percussion number and a very nice wind chamber piece. There was an ongoing video of snowy, dirty streets somewhere in the U.S. of A. Since Cage died over twenty years ago, I couldn’t help but wonder what he would have done with some of the digital devices. Blows the mind.

However, the contrast between the two composers was extreme. The geezer brain finds it difficult to process. But I am glad that I went all in one day from the 18th century to the future that John Cage imagined in the 20th.