Wacky Wednesday – Johnny Appleseed Day

John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed,  was born on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts.  Beginning in 1802 he wandered through northern and Midwestern states planting apple nurseries.  Many of his seeds were collected from cider presses in Pennsylvania.  His trees fed many settlers and legend says he was loved wherever he went.

So enjoy a fresh apple in his honor, or perhaps some applesauce or a slice of apple pie.



Music Monday – Come Sail Away

On this date, September 24,  in 1977 Styx released  “Come Sail Away”.   I am positive I was not listening to it that autumn as I was a college freshman music major.  I was spending hours in a practice room improving my less than impressive scales and piano technique.  I also was working on sight singing, ear training, and attempting to gain an elementary grasp of the violin for string pedagogy class (one of the more stressful endeavors I have ever undertaken).   But sometime somewhere I would find the tune to “Come Sail Away” to be one of those that sticks in the brain.  Hope you don’t wake up in the wee hours of the morning with it looping around in your head.

[If you have trouble viewing the above click on “Tube” in the lower right corner which will open a new window with the video.]

Thoughtful Thursday — Reality TV

Are there any reality TV shows you’d try out for?

No.  I have no desire to be seen on TV.  With the quantity of reality program I confess there are a few that I do watch on a regular basis and a few of those do include people who are not outrageous but I still want to give up my spot on my couch for a place in front of the cameras.

My semi- or not so semi- trashy viewing habits:  Real Housewives of NYC (who prove that money does not buy class, neither do distant minor European titles), MasterChef (I admire the skills of the home cooks, I could not match their talent and I would not stand for the verbal beatings they have to take from Gordon Ramsey et al), and the cooking competitions for pros like Chopped or Top Chef Masters.

How about you?  Would you put yourself in front of the cameras for fame, fortune, or other reasons?  Are you refined enough, busy enough to avoid the whole reality TV medium?  If you do indulge in reality TV watching which programs have you hooked?


Wacky Wednesday — National Scrabble Week

I never was a Scrabble addict and I certainly was not a champion Scrabble player but since I got an iPhone back in March I have found myself playing  Words with Friends almost daily.   The beauty of Words with Friends over the traditional board game for me is that I  can put a word out if even if I am not sure that it is spelled correctly and attempt to play it without showing my opponent.  If it is correct it will go through and be scored, if it is incorrect  I can simply  try again or opt for another word.  And I can take the time between turns that I might want to check a dictionary app regarding definitions of words I might not recognize that are played by others.

Are you a traditional Scrabble player?  Have you  delved into the Words with Friends world?

Music Monday – Kathleen Battle

The soprano Kathleen Battle was born on  August 13, 1948.  She studied at the  University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music  She has won 5 Grammy Awards for recordings made between 1986 to 1993.  I decided to post the YouTube video below but only because it is a
“popular” operatic selection but also because I like Ms Battle’s diva dress.

Thoughtful Thursday – Do you prefer the city or the country?

Do you prefer the city or the country?

This is a “the grass is always greener on the other side” question in all likely hood.  I have lived all my life in the rural countryside.  Going to the city is always a treat, a chance to see museums, hear music, eat at different restaurants, shop for things not available in person back home.  I dream of having those opportunities available on a daily basis, of having public transit to jump on to take me them.  But…,  there is always a but, after 7 to 10 days I tire of the dirty, grimy feeling that comes from the crush of people and  I start  longing  for fresher, cleaner air.  Still I believe living in a city is something I would find pleasing as long as I could escape to the country from time to time.  That and afford a lovely condo in a nice neighborhood.   Do not expect to hear that I have relocated anytime soon.

Travel Tuesday – Longing for London

For a 10 year plus period, starting in 1998,  I was lucky enough to fly into Heathrow once or twice a year spending some time in London and other parts of England or Scotland.   Watching the Olympic coverage is making me miss my favorite destination, so I am sharing some more London scrap-book pages.    These snap shots  were taken on Christmas Day 2005 during a lunch cruise on the Thames.


Music Monday – “La Marseillaise”

On this date, July 30, in 1792 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle’s songChant de guerre pour l’Armée du Rhine”  (English: War Song for the Army of the Rhine”) was first sung in Paris.  The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic’s anthem in 1795. The name of the song became La Marseillaise  because it was first sung on the streets by volunteers from Marseille.

Hector Berlioz arranged “La Marseillaise”  for soprano, chorus and orchestra around 1830.  Click here to listen to an audio file of his arrangement.

Music Monday – Cold as Ice

On July 23, 1977 – Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice” was released.  Given how hot late July can be the idea of being as “cold as ice” does not strike me as all that bad.  I doubt I paid any attention to the song coming out in 1977.  It was the summer after I finished H.S. and prior to starting college.

Listening to it now the synthesizer/keyboard sounds of that period were down right ugly.  No wonder I enjoyed church organ lessons and playing with different combinations of stops.  If I was a 17-year-old now instead of then I am sure a nice digital piano and computer composition programs like Finale would have outweighed those organ lessons.

For anyone who is wondering why all the ancient pop music rather than “classical” on Music Mondays it is because the sights that are popping up lately for ‘this day in music history’ are for pop, rock, and oldies.  I will probably get back to a few posting posts on more serious genres at some point before 2012 draws to a close — we are on the downside of the year now.