Wednesday, April 30, 2008

one of those days...

spent the night dreaming about how I couldn't fall asleep. was having to share a bed with some guy in a hospital and had to keep dealing with iv tubes and the tv was on and we were waiting for some people and it was all somehow related. (I have no idea where that came from, unlike the musical ax murderer from a couple nights ago.)

and I've had that "something crawled up into my sinuses and died and smells funny" thing going on.

on the funny side, this story is entertaining. cause who doesn't have at least a billion dollars in the checking account?


poor RTO

MK: oh, we got new movies today.

RTO: so, what are our choices?

MK: um, The Mikado or The Magic Flute.



RTO: okay, I'm ready for culture time to be over.

anyhoo, the Magic Flute disc was cracked, so I watched the Mikado... visually kinda interesting (Katisha was uuuuuugly and hilarious), but they butchered the show. on the plus side it was only an hour and a half.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Dear Maggie,
Here is your horoscope
for Tuesday, April 29:

You need to really listen when friends or family members offer suggestions today -- some of them seem crazy on the surface, but are actually pretty reasonable once you've thought them through.

and next in the mailbox, in response to my comment here last night:

Just head on down to Arkansas, commit a felony in Benton County, and watch the pounds melt away!


Monday, April 28, 2008

maggie approved

she really liked the new fridge. or else she thought it smelled funny and was trying to fix it.

oh, here I got some really grainy video of her and Carlos, too.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Records

why, yes I have been recording things I got from my grandparents...

The Best of Lawrence Welk: um, okay. There were a few things here I didn't recognize, like Yellow Bird and Scarlett O'Hara. They kinda make Theme from My Three Sons boring. can't quite pin down the instrumentation, but it's light.

Mellow Hits for the 80s - The Living Strings and The Living Voices: two albums of cheese. okay, so there are a few here I wasn't sure about the year. Looked up top 100 for 1980 (copyright for the album) and quite a few are there. yes, even number 1, Call Me. the other top ten would be Do that to me One more Time, this is mellow hits after all. hmmm, tracking down the few questions, I Don't Want to Walk Without You was released by Barry Manilow. I guess it wasn't on the chart long enough to be on the top 100 for the year. Anyhoo, RTO caught Babe and was really amused, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

My Cup Runneth Over - Ed Ames: This is one of those that I love the jacket blurb.

As in the beautiful ballad serving as the title tune of the LP, here is a cup that runneth over. In the show-stopping song from "I Do! I Do!", the abundance is of love. In Ed Ames' new album, it's the wine of enchanted listening. Savor it and drink in a baritone voice that has the deep flavor and rich consistencey of the finest sherry.

well done, Arnold Shaw. Anyhoo, other songs from shows I've never heard of include, In the Arms of Love (from What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?) and Au revoir (from Sherry!). Melinda was interesting and not the tune you usually hear from On a Clear Day you Can See Forever, which made me think of Robert Goulet, heh. Ames has a bit lighter, more even voice.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

this year's roses

they look decent this year. yay!


Friday, April 25, 2008

friday's "RTO had to go back to the office" recording....

only one record

Champagne on Broadway - Lawrence Welk and his orchestra: I didn't actually clock it, but I'd feel safe saying I think he uses the same tempo for everything. Showtunes from I Whistle a Happy Tune to Maria to If I Loved You. same toe-tapping tempo. and little woodwind flourishes.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

well, they should have no sinus trouble for a while....

Sarahk has a post about making sushi for dinner and, well, go look. I think that's more wasabi than they usually give you at a restaurant. my dad would probably love it, though.


today's weirdness....

got up to get some pictures of Carlos staring at birds in the backyard, when this guy caught my eye. he let me take a lot of pictures, then the camera battery ran out, so I got a picture with my phone. went outside and poked him with a stick and he preferred not to move. he's alive, maybe just likes the view into my kitchen.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why, RTO , WHY!!!???

RTO's out mowing the lawn and Roxie is just wandering the house making worried noises. She rarely curls up in her crate during the day, but right now it's a BIG deal that there's a cat in there. we're just all going to be "off" today.

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Monday, April 21, 2008


these actually took me a few days, but whatevs.
Songs of Faith and Joy: another (and the last one I have... for now) Reader's Digest set. Eight records of 70's variety show fare. okay, maybe half of it was a little more traditional, but I can only handle so much banjo and tambourine.

Close to You - Perry Como: even older Como. this site says it's a compilation. okay, but he was flailing enough for RTO to comment that he sounded old ("Stick to songs from your own era old man!") and I didn't notice much difference vocally amongst the tracks. anyhoo, two records! of contemporary stuff. sadly, Close to You was flawed so I couldn't get a clean recording of it. some interesting song choices to be sure. What were the people that wrote I think I Love You smoking?

Love Story - Soundtrack: kinda short, which is probably for the best because how many different ways can you really do that theme? you got piano solo, jazzy harpsichord, piano concerto style. um, and a couple classical pieces thrown in. Should I see the movie?

Winchester Cathedral - Lawrence Welk: um, it's Lawrence Welk. I'd never heard the title track before. or Walking on New Grass. other than that there were some faves on here, Summer Samba, Mas Que Nada, and Family Affair.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

more kitty tongue



looks like Russ will be getting some new kittehs. he's trying to come up with geeky names for them.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

a different kind of old....

had heard about this formula before.. thanks to Comics Curmudgeon I now know there's a comic about it.


Friday, April 18, 2008

it's old....

but Kris's drooling over Hugh Jackman reminded me of this....


Thursday, April 17, 2008

har har

MK: *gets off the couch and heads for the kitchen*

RTO: oh, I thought i was playing footsie with you.....



MK: nice, you're confusing me with the dog?

RTO: well, the toenails are the same.



finally got around to watching Company. I'd read a few articles about it, but couldn't imagine how it really worked. everybody playing instruments, singing, acting. eeeeee. but it was very moving, I highly recommend seeing it. there were moments I was holding my breath and RTO got sucked in a couple times. ;D


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


gail has posted an Engineer's guide to Cats. the yodeling is one of the best parts.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

duhn duhn duuuuuuuuuuhn....


Friday, April 11, 2008

thought I had posted this, guess not....

gail posted this picture today and I find it amusing cause I was really trying to get a goofy shot of Carlos, more like this one.

that other one had the best lighting I guess, but he doesn't look silly. this one still didn't quite catch it, but it's closest to what I remember. also, random trivia.... he had a nice cut on his chin at the time, not sure where it came from, maybe maggie or Roxie snagged him. it's that little spot the right.


we would like some privacy....


friday record

Como's Golden Record - Perry Como: this made me think of Forever Plaid. Particularly Catch a Falling Star because they did the clinking thing. This covers some of his hits from the 40's and 50's, and I hadn't ever heard maybe half of them. Till the End of Time was interesting because it was one of those, "let's take a classical theme and add words to it" things. but I couldn't tell you what tune, my brain is saying Chopin, but I could be way off. anyhoo, I'm liking his voice and technique.


Monday, April 07, 2008

The return of cheese!

and who better to kick it off than Dean Martin?

Gentle on My Mind - Dean Martin: Dean Martin schmaltzes up some "contemporary" tunes. I think my fave was the little flourishes in April Again. he gets some help from whispy sounding ladies and tambourine on other tracks such as Rainbows are Back in Style and That Old Time Feelin'.

The Lonely Bull - Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass: okay, they probably only really have one tune and every album is, like, ten variations on it, but it's so catchy.

Where You're Concerned - Perry Como: he sounds really good here for a 65 year old man that's been singing a long time. Anyhoo, tunes cover a wide range of contemporary and older songs, from Greensleeves to You Light Up My Life. found my toes tapping many times. yeah, I'm getting old.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

guess he's settled in

Eddie has made himself at home.


I thought up some cutesy title last night, but i've forgotten it....

I'm currently recording the last opera album I've got. then it's on to, um, random stuff again. It's gotten slow because my voice teacher loaned me a few things to record and I took the time to clean them up and so it takes the computer forever to save them. finally made it through Otello. then had a couple three-in-one things, Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach and Puccini's Il Trittico. Hoffmann was "meh". The men, Gedda and London sounded great, but the women sounded anemic. I think it was a recording issue more than anything, sometimes the mics don't pick up what you would hear in a hall. Trittico was good, I'm loving Renata Scotto (she sang Giorgetta and Angelica).

oh, there was also Lucia di Lammermoor with Sutherland and Cioni and Robert Merrill. I liked it okay, Sutherland is kinda hit or miss to me, but in this one she didn't sound like she was trying too hard so it was nice. also, it kinda creeped me out, which I hadn't expected.

what else? um, a Boheme with Anna Moffo and Richard Tucker. It was... different than what I'm used to. and The Saint of Bleecker Street by Menotti, not much to say about it really, it's Menotti. Cavalleria Rusticana, which I just happened to end up recording on Easter. and the extra side was some random arias sung by Zinka Milanov.

and for a change Beethoven's Missa Solemnis in D Major. and for even more change, Stravinsky's The Rakes Progress. (with Stravinsky conducting) Not my favorite thing ever.

which brings us to this afternoon's Marriage of Figaro. I just don't get tired of this opera. although this particular recording, featuring Eberhard Wachter, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and Anna Moffo among others, is a bit more staid than the other, more recent recording I've got. not as much laughing and the character singers don't go quite so far afield vocally. could just be an issue of fitting it all on three albums.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

question of the day

What the heck did I do to my knee Thursday night?

I rode the bike yesterday, didn't really notice it, but it was kinda yelping whenever I would sit down and it seems worse today. oh, I'm pedaling right now, but a bit slower and hurtier. probably not my best idea ever, but I need the exercise. maybe walking the dog would be better. it doesn't seem to mind walking, just the more extreme bending. feels like something isn't lined up right.


for Carin.... ;D

was reading this yesterday and thought, "I'm going to have to mail you this issue when I'm done with it." but it looks like the article is available online. anyhoo, on to the specific passage:

Now farm experts are beginning to change their views, putting the customer ahead of production. In 2004, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) became the first aid donor to pledge to organize its spending around the principle that the ­end ­customer is the prime mover in African agriculture. Given a ready buyer who is offering a fair price, African farmers will defy stereotypes of their inherent conservatism and backwardness. “They move like lightning when money is on the table,” says David Barry, a British coffee buyer based in Kampala. “Cash is king.”

from The Coming Revolution in Africa by G. Pascal Zachary. Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2008.

so, this capitalism thing. maybe not so bad? haven't quite finished the article yet... it's looong, but didn't want to forget that bit and the few paragraphs that follow.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Hey mom!

It's a musical about an accountant. but it, um, sounds kind of strange. go figure.

Darkly comic and heartbreakingly beautiful, Adding Machine, a musical adaptation of Elmer Rice's incendiary 1923 play, tells the story of Mr. Zero, who after 25 years of service to his company is replaced by a mechanical adding machine. In a vengeful rage, he murders his boss. An eclectic score gives passionate and memorable voice to this stylish and stylized production, which follows Zero's journey to the afterlife in the Elysian Fields where he is met with one last chance for romance and redemption.

cast recording is tentatively scheduled to come out in June.

oh, also, PBS is running a recent production of Company. oops, not where you live. our local station is running quite a few of the Met HD broadcasts recently too. I watched Hansel and Gretel last weekend (pretty trippy). and Gounod's Romeo et Juliette is slated for this Sunday.


kitty tongue!

seems it's going to be nothing but animal pictures for a while.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

they're plotting something....

They've been more chummy the last week or so.

oh...ha HA!

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the usual,"i'm up really late after a craptacular day" post about brain issues.....

ha, actually, read an interesting article in Wilson Quarterly (Winter 2008) last night entitled, "The Brain: A Mindless Obsession" by Charles Barber. It's adapted from his recent book Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation. in the essay, he gives a brief history of mental health treatment in the U.S. before focusing on current trends with medication and brain imaging.

so...the bit I found interesting, and poorly tried to explain to RTO last night:

To this day, no one knows exactly how psychoactive drugs work. The etiology of depression remains an enduring scientific mystery, with entirely new ways of understanding the disease - or diseases, since what we think of as "depression" now is probably dozens of discrete disease entities - constantly emerging. Indeed, the basic tenet of biological psychiatry, that depression is a result of a deficit in serotonin, has proven to be one that was too eagerly embraced. When this "monoamine" theory of depression emerged in the 1960s, it gave the biologically minded practitioners of psychiatry what they had long been craving - a clean, decisive scientific theory to help bring the field in line with the rest of medicine. For patients, too the serotonin hypothesis was enormously appealing. it not only provided the soothing clarity of a physical explanation for their maladies, it absolved them of responsibility for their illness, and to some degree, their behavior. Because, after all, who's responsible for a chemical imbalance?

Unfortunately, from the very start there was a massive contradiction at the heart of the monoamine theory. Whatever it is that Prozac and the other members of the widely used class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) do to change brain chemistry, it happens almost immediately after they are ingested. The neurochemical changes are quick. However, SSRIs typically take weeks, even months, to have any therapeutic influence. Why the delay? No one had any explanation until the late 1990s, when Ronald Duman, a researcher at Yale, showed that antidepressants actually grow brain cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with memory and mood regulation. Such a finding would have been viewed as preposterous even a decade earlier; one of the central dogmas of brain science for more than a century has been that the adult brain is incapable of producing new neurons. Duman showed that the dogma is false. He believes that the therapeutic effects of SSRIs are delayed because it takes weeks or months to build up a critical mass of the new brain cells sufficient to initiate a healing process in the brain.

While Duman's explanation for the mechanism of action of the SSRIs remains controversial, a consensus is building that SSRIs most likely initiate a series of complex changes, involving many neurotransmitters, that alter the functioning of the brain at the cellular and molecular levels. It appears that SSRIs may only be the necessary first step of a "cascade" of brain changes that occur long after and well "downstream" of serotonin alterations. The frustrating truth is that depression, like all mental ilnesses, is an incredibly complicated and poorly understood disease, involving many neurotransmitters, many genes, and an intricate, infinite, dialectical dance between experience and biology. One of the leading serotonin researchers, Jeffrey Meyer of the University of Toronto, summed up the misplaced logic of the monoamine hypothesis: "There is a common misunderstanding that serotonin is low during clinical depression. It mostly comes from the fact that many antidepressants raise serotonin. This is a bit like saying pneumonia is an illness of low antibiotics because we treat pneumonia with antibiotics."

he goes on to wrap up and briefly mentions some newer psychotherapy methods that he thinks are being overshadowed by drugs (for less severe cases at least). I'm a bit intrigued by the thought of being able to "rewire" my own brain with help from the therapist. had an interesting visit a few weeks ago where we tried some eye-movement thing and it was... something for another post, probably. I'll do some research, maybe ,when i'm feeling more motivated.