Mercoledi Musicale

How do you possibly choose a favourite Gordon Lightfoot song? There are so damned many that I decided to post two that are not as well known from later in his career. Both of these songs appeared on his 2020 album SOLO.

They are amongst the last songs he composed and they are a look back at his life. With a certain bittersweet regret (?) he questions the things he did and the choices he made.

In speaking to CTV of the songs composed for the album, Nicholas Jennings, his biographer said:
“It’s just him and his guitar, wonderfully raw and unvarnished and therefore, I think the emotion of his songs really, really comes through. It’s almost like him baring his soul by not having any accompaniment,”

This morning I watched a video of two guys in their late twenties whose knowledge of singers from the past is – to be polite – lacking. One kept referring to the jazz singer Anita Fitzgerald, paying no attention to me screaming “Ella, you idiot! Ella” at the computer. But I digress. They had never heard of Lightfoot and were playing his “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald”. At the end one chap exclaimed “Epic!” and the other wondered where Lightfoot had been all his life.

Yes my friend he was indeed EPIC and he was right here in Canada. And our lives have been made the richer for it.

The word for June 7th is:
Epic ĕp′ĭk: [1. noun 2. adjective]
1.1 An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero.
1.2 A literary or dramatic composition that resembles an extended narrative poem celebrating heroic feats.
1.3 A series of events considered appropriate to an epic.
2.1 Of, constituting, having to do with, or suggestive of a literary epic.
2.2 Surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size.
2.3 Heroic and impressive in quality.
From Latin epicus, from Ancient Greek ἐπικός (epikos), from ἔπος (epos, “word, story”).

Memes for a Monday

We’re cranking the heat up and thinking we might take out our winter jackets so all we may as well look at a few memes and laugh.

Since when has 8c been June weather?

Patience, they tell me, is a virtue.

It’s sad when they fly the nest.

And yet most of us stay on Farce Book, don’t we?

Ah les temps perdus.

Sounds like a “discussion” in our house.

The ultimate definition.

Ah the culture vultures. They’ve never seen a painting of Mozart’s they haven’t liked.

I’m always to enlighten you with little known facts.

You knew there had to be one of these.

And I leave you with this thought as summer looms upon us:

The word for June 5th is:
June joon: [noun]
1.1 The sixth month of the Gregorian Calendar.
1.2 A girl’s name popular in the 1920s which is regaining popularity today.
Middle English 1598, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French Juin, from Latin Junius on the Roman Calendar.

Memes for a Monday

Yesterday it was sunny and warm, this morning it was sunny and bloody cold so let’s make this afternoon sunny and funny.

Hey I know I can find a recipe for that half of an onion I put in here only last week – well okay two weeks ago.

An unknown Caravaggio? *


Well now that’s a bit uncomfortable. Uncomfortable but funny!

I bet even you computer geeks didn’t know this.

I’m ashamed to admit I laughed.

And those ways would be …?

It wasn’t about the money. It was the art. Yeah right.

And I leave you with with this ray of sunshine to start the week.

*In truth, as pointed out by a killjoy on another site, it was painted in 2012 by Arthur Berzinsh. He calls it Siesta.

The word for May 29th is:
Sunny sŭn′ē: [adjective]
1.1 Exposed to or abounding in sunshine.
1.2 Cheerful; genial.
1.3 Of or pertaining to the sun; proceeding from, or resembling the sun; hence, shining; bright; brilliant; radiant.
Old English sunne +y: “full of sun,” early 14c., from sun (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense of “cheerful” is attested from 1540s. Sunny side in reference to optimistic outlook is from 1831. Eggs served sunny side up first attested 1887, in lunch counter slang, in reference to appearance when served.

Mercoledi Musicale

but on a giovedì.

I am getting weary of the disappearing act that the entertainers that I grew up with have taken to doing. Almost daily I read of the death of another great in the world of music, cinema, TV, theatre or dance who moulded my youth. In the past few weeks Harry Belafonte, Barry Humphries, Gordon Lightfoot, Grace Bumbry, and just yesterday Tina Turner have all left us.

In my late teens I joined the RCA Record Club and the first two albums I received were by the legendary folk singer/actress/civil rights activist Odetta and Harry Belafonte with Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba.

Rather than post another clip of Harry Belafonte singing Matilda or Banana Boat Song I thought I’d celebrate him and those two albums in duets with those two great ladies.

In 1959 Belafonte and Odetta performed this number on his TV special and later recorded it. A Hole in the Bucket appears to be of Hessian origin and over the years has been translated and adapted in many languages. There is an obvious affection between the two that is captivating.

I never had the chance to catch Odetta’s act in one of her many appearances at the River Boat in Toronto but did see her on stage at Stratford in a searing production of The Crucible. She was as fine an actress as she was a singer.

In 1960 Belafonte met Miriam Makeba during filming of a BBC variety show. He was the catalyst in introducing her to wider audiences. She recorded the award winning An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba based on a concert tour they had done together in 1962. One of the stops was Toronto and I had the good fortune to see them perform. Both singers performed Malaika as solos however I think this duet is the classic version of the Swahili ballad

The word for May 24th is:
Disappear dĭs″ə-pîr′: [verb]
1.1 To pass out of sight; vanish.
1.2 To cease to be seen; be missing or unfound.
1.3 To cease to exist.
From Middle English disapeeren, equivalent to dis– +‎ appear which is from Middle English apperen, aperen, borrowed from Old French aparoir from Latin appāreō (“I appear”). Displaced native Old English fordwīnan.

What’s Cooking

I realized that it’s been two months since I’ve post much of anything other than Memes and health reports however I am trying to get back to more regular posts. So how better to start than with a recipe that can be a morning, noon hour or evening dish.

Bacon and Asparagus “Dutch Baby
From Chef John at Food Wishes
Serves 4 as an appetizer or lunch/brunch.
Serves 2 as a main or breakfast.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

3 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour packed (push and pack as much flour as you can fit into the 1/2 cup measure)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 strips bacon
1 generous cup sliced fresh asparagus

Preheat oven to 475ºf (245ºc)
Combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon zest, and flour in a large bowl. Whisk until completely combined. You may see a few lumps but that is just the cheese.
Cut the asparagus crosswise into quarter inch lengths discarding the woody portions at the bottom.
Chop the bacon into 1/2 inch strips.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron frying pan* over medium heat. Add the bacon strips and fry, stirring frequently, until all the fat has been rendered and the bacon is crisp. Do not discard the bacon grease.
Turn the heat to high and add asparagus and give it a stir. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the batter as evenly as possible using a circular motion but do not stir.
Transfer pan to the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until it is browned and puffed.
If you wish to present it at table do so immediately as will deflate in a minute or two.

*A cast iron pan is preferred however if you don’t have one fry the bacon and asparagus in a regular fry pan than transfer everything including all the bacon grease into a casserole

Note: this can be done with many combinations e.g. sausage and potato, pancetta and zucchinis, onion and tomato – the combinations are endless.

There are several versions out there about where the name “Dutch baby” comes from however many Middle and Northern European cuisines feature pancakes that are very similar – both savoury and sweet. Perhaps with fresh fruit season upon us we can look at the sweet versions next time.

The word for May 23rd is:
Dutch /dʌtʃ/: [1. noun 2. adjective 3. adverb]
1.1 The people of the Netherlands.
1.2 The language spoken in the Netherlands.
2.1 Of or relating to the Netherlands or its inhabitants.
2.2 Archaic: of or relating to the Germanic peoples of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Low Countries.
3.1 Pejorative attached to words in English to describe anything inferior or irregular e.g. Dutch Treat, Dutch Courage etc.
Late 14c., of language, “German, non-Scandinavian continental Germanic,” also as a noun, “a German language;” also in Duche-lond “Germany.” By mid-15c. distinguished into Higher and Lower, and used after c. 1600 in the narrower sense “Hollanders, residents of the Netherlands.” From Middle Dutch duutsch, from Old High German duitisc. As a pejorative 17c when England and the Netherlands were rivals in trade and colonization.

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Jerry and I get around. In 2011, we moved from the USA to Spain. We now live near Málaga. Jerry y yo nos movemos. En 2011, nos mudamos de EEUU a España. Ahora vivimos cerca de Málaga.

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