Saturday, October 31, 2009
What would you think of a man who went around the place singing to himself snatches from a cantata written by an obscure 17th century German composer? You would probably think him quite mad but in your kinder moments you might say: "An eccentric; probably an academic". I am that person and I am a born academic (I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation in 6 weeks; some people take that many years) so I hope I can be excused. The words that are stuck in my head at the moment are: "Und deine Fusstapfen triefen von Fett". I must have sung them to myself a hundred times in the last few days. The words are so crazy that I dare not translate them but they are in fact a quotation from the Psalms. What makes them good is the music that Vincent Luebeck has set to them.
All of which comes about because I have been playing lately one of my favourite cantatas: Gott wie dein Name by Vincent Luebeck. Luebeck was 11 years older than J.S. Bach and more famous than Bach in his day. And at his best Luebeck is as good as Bach. And I mention all that because I have just discovered that people have begun to put up some Luebeck works on YouTube. A good example below for those who like that sort of thing:
Note the extensive use of pedals. Pedals usually access the largest pipes.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
In my view I have a generally pleasant and easy life but every now and again, one day is better than most and today is such a day.
I woke up a bit before nine after a good night's sleep and sat down to do the the day's updates on my Immigration Watch blog -- which is my custom for that time of the day. Instead of having to look for interesting news in that field, however, I found two press releases in my inbox which I liked so I posted them without further ado.
I then went in to the long-departed Mr Stone's Corner for a haircut from my usual barber. I was in the chair within 10 minutes of arriving and had a good chat with the barber while he was civilizing my appearance. I have been going to him for years now so I was in familiar territory, which I like.
I then went to the Cafe down the road for a bacon and egg breakfast as they always do a good one. While I was sitting there waiting for it to arrive, my brother Christopher walked past. I waved and he came and sat down for a chat. We talked a bit about the latest follies of the global Warmists and about family matters too, of course. I am pretty conservative but Chris could be described as "so far right he is almost out of sight". He is a very pleasant person, however, with lots of friends. I was pleased to hear that his business is doing well, despite the economic doldrums.
I then went over the road to see Paul Brandon, the local bootmaker, a lovely man. I had a very small clock that needed new batteries and he does clock and watch batteries. He showed me that the clock in fact took AAA batteries so did not need his services. He was of course perfectly pleasant about it.
I then took a stroll through a nearby bookstore and saw a book that would be good for a preschooler. I bought it to give to Suzy's baby at some future time.
When I got home the council roadgang were still fixing up the guttering and footpath in my street and the foreman came over to check how their work had affected my ability to get my big Humber in and out of my garage. It was courteous of him to ask. I assured him that access was now better than ever and he told me that they would bring over some special concrete tomorrow to fix up a small part of my driveway that adjoined the work in the street. It was an appreciated courtesy.
So after that start, I am looking forward to the rest of the day.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I imagine that there must be a few people who come by this blog who share my love of Baroque music. So for them some news: I have just discovered the music of Zelenka, a Czech contemporary of Bach whom Bach thought highly of. I am listening to one of his Kyrie Eleisons as I write this. It is marvellous. What a wonder that the Baroque period is still yielding up forgotten treasures for us! I have also just heard on the radio one of his oratorios: "Penitents at the tomb of the Redeemer". It grabbed me immediately.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The Han make a big impression wherever they go and the Chinese ladies are certainly doing their bit. In both Australia and the USA they tend to snap up Caucasian men (particularly the taller ones) and thus leave the Caucasian women rather high and dry.
The latest example in my life of that was last Sunday, when Davey and Olivia had a combined engagement-party/baby shower. Olivia is pregant and both parents are happy about it. Olivia is a 3rd year psych student and Davey is a spare parts interpreter. Davey and Joe were great mates during their childhoods but are not so close these days as Joe's great patience has led him into academe whereas Davey's tendency to lack of patience has led him away from such pursuits.
But both have felt the Asian influence. Joey's Sam is half Han and Olivia is wholly so. Her father is a restaurateur, unsurprisingly.
And the party included a LOT of Olivia's friends and relatives: Stylish Chinese ladies to a woman, all very fashionably dressed. And that means sexy these days. So I had to be cautious where I looked. I did not talk to any of them but I admired them from afar.
As usual at family gatherings, I spent most of my time talking to 3 people: Joe, Paul and Ken. This time I spent quite a lot of time talking to Joe. As we are both academics, we mostly discussed academic matters. It seems that, like me, Joe is fast at doing academic things. At that rate the prospects for him getting lots of publications are good. Like father, like son.
I don't think anybody in the family takes it amiss when I don't talk to them a lot, though. They know me of old and would probably be amazed if I was any different. I help various family members out financially from time to time and in all of human history putting your money where your mouth is has always been a pretty good proof of goodwill.
Paul and Suzy have both been slimming in recent months and I think Paul has overdone it a bit. He was as skinny as a rake on Sunday. Still, he has bad bones so taking the weight off them is probably a very good move. I tried to talk Paul's Suzy out of taking any more weight off. She always looks good regardless.
We had the do at Oxley's on the river and, somewhat to my surprise, the food was very good. Their shish kebabs were outstanding.
Suzy Rohde nee Johnson (Lady fun) was there looking very pregnant and she has sent me a lot of good pics from the occasion so I am putting up some below:
The happy couple
The 3 brothers
Jenny and Nanna
The gorgeous Von was there with her very smart but very quiet Dutchman