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The Allegro from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, performed by Café Zimmermann.

Not that I can do much more than thump and bang and use a lot of bad language whilst at the keyboard, but I have made a distinct effort in recent times to model my own renditions of Bach closely on the style of groups like C.Z.  This is in marked contrast to the manner in which I was taught to play him originally, that is to say, slow and staid and stuffy.

I must say that I infinitely prefer the livelier approach.  And if I’m wrong, I don’t especially want to be right.

(BTW, the name Café Zimmermann comes from the coffee house where both Bach and Telemann hung around and played concerts.  I have raved here before about their recording of Charles Avison’s orchestrations of Scarlatti’s keyboard musick.  They’re well worth some coin if you’re thinking of expanding or switching out your Baroque collection.)

It’s a rainy Friday morning here at the Port-Swiller’s residence, and you know what that means.  Here we go:

♦  You know, I have always believed American exceptionalism to be more or less self-evident from any honest survey of the history of Mankind.  Thus, I am having a mighty hard time wrapping my brain around the concept of a president who does not share such belief

Just saying.

Oh, and here’s a prediction: We’re going to bail on Afghanistan.  Then we’re going to have to go back.

♦   Speaking of history, for those of you scoring at home I might mention that in my long, on-again off-again slog through Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, I have finally reached the coronation of Charlemagne.  This reminded me that although I have had a copy of Bulfinch’s The Age of Chivalry and The Legends of Charlemagne ever since I was a boy, I’ve only ever read the former but not the latter.  Why not? Pure Anglophilic Arthurian snobbishness, I suppose.   Well, the good news is that I feel I’m finally ready to broaden my horizons.  (And by the way, any recommendations for a good biography of Charlemagne would be appreciated as well.)

♦   Speaking of broad horizons, nip on over to Ace’s and watch this fascinating video of a wounded lion charging a group of hunters.  (It’s a wonder they didn’t manage to shoot each other when the cat got in amongst them.)  This reminds me that the other evening, as we watched one of our own housecats staking out a corner of the kitchen where she believed there to be unauthorized mouse activity, I casually remarked to Mrs. Robbo that she (the cat) was, after all, a predator.  “No she isn’t!”  Mrs. R exclaimed in alarum.  Well, yes she is. And if she were the size of a lion, she’d cheerily eat either one of us.

Oh, heck, as long as we’re on the subject:


(Sorry about the poor quality of the second vid.)

 Frankly, I’ve come to actively dislike this movie, but I still think the Tiger in Africa bit pretty funny.

♦   And speaking of les chats, one of the better cat story I know of is Saki’s “Tobermory,” in which a feline of that name is taught to speak, much to the discomfiture of a house party.  Sooner or later I’m sure we will introduce another cat into the Port Swiller household.  I’m thinking of insisting that we name it Tobermory in honor of Saki’s supercilious nine-liver.  Mrs. R may not get the reference, as she doesn’t read him, but I’ll know.  

As Basil Fawlty says, “Just trying to enjoy myself.”

♦   Oh, speaking of Nature’s jolly old tooth and claw redness, I can’t help noticing that the goldfinches seem to be losing their summah coloring mighty early this year.  Another sign of what I believe is going to be a long and cold winter? Could be.

♦  In my last round of random, I mentioned the chant we use at Mass and the fact that I didn’t know much about it except that it was medieval.  Well, in the comments, our dear friend Jordana gently hinted that it is, in fact, Gregorian.  Well, of course it is, and I feel like a moron for not making that connection earlier.  

Guess it’s not quite time to take off the training wheels yet.

♦   Speaking of musick, the local radio station has been on an Ignaz Pleyel kick lately.  Who he? Well, he was an Austrian-born  protegé of Haydn’s who later moved to Paris and got into the musick publishing and piano manufacturing businesses.   Mozart (who was only a year older) referred to Pleyel as his generation’s Haydn, which coming from Gangerl is pretty durn high praise.   Pleyel was immensely popular in his own day, but quickly sank into historickal obscurity.  Funny how these things work.

By the bye, Pleyel moved to Paris in 1795.  What kind of a lunatic makes that choice?  I mean, the place was still in the grip of the Terror and its backlash!

♦   Well, I suppose I better go pour another cuppa.  We recently bought a big ol’ bag o’ Mayorga beans from Costco and I must say that this is some seriously good joe.  Apparently, Mayorga is some kind of niche marketer.  Mrs. R tells me they come ’round to Costco every now and then and roast the beans up on the spot.

Once again I ask: Is there anything Costco can’t do? They’re like WD-40, duct tape or bacon!

♦   Speaking of bacon, I see that Ford is promoting a glass roof option on its 2010 Mustang.  I certainly hope the thing has some kind of sliding cover.  I well remember what it was like driving my old ’66 hardtop around in the Texas summah – it strikes me that with nothing but a sheet of glass between one and the sun in such conditions, it would feel like sitting in a microwave.

♦   Speaking of promotions, as I watched the Verizon commercials that pepper the Nats game broadcasts last evening, it occurred to me that I didn’t have the faintest idea what on earth they were talking about.  Family plans? Roll-over minutes? Texting? All the whistles and bells on the phones?  This is all jibberish to me.

♦  And speaking of commuting, either I am losing my mind or else the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority is quietly cutting back on its metro car cleaning schedule, because it seems to me lately that the ick-factor of the poles in the cars is getting markedly more pronounced.   I don’t especially worry about catching diseases, I just hate the sensation of getting slimed.  

♦   And speaking of disease, no I am not getting a swine flu vaccine.  I must say that I find the mass hysteria over this whole business to be downright shameful.

♦   Finally, speaking of health, I see that Jennifer Love Hewitt is back in shape.  I’ll have to do some, ah, further research on this topic before I say anything, of course.  (One wants to be fully informed, after all.)

I see where the Moo-Knewvian universe has exceeded its bandwidth limitation again, thus temporarily putting the ol’ Llamas, ah, out to pasture. 

Since I do all of my baseball posting over there, I suppose this might let me off having to acknowledge that the poor Nats racked up their 100th loss of the season last evening, losing a close one to the Dodgers, but I’m not going to take such an easy out.  You know, it’s a real pity and also a perfect illustration of the maxim about baseball being a game of inches:  The fact is that the team is a lot better than its record might indicate.  I’ve watched a whooooole lot of Nats games this season, and the vast majority of their losses have been like last night’s – one play, one break going the other way and they would come out on top.

So as far as I’m concerned, fixing things for next year is more a matter of tweeking than wholesale reorganization.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

No? Well so long as you’re in merry mood, I’ll also pass on this:  I don’t know whether there’s any connection to the MooKnoo crash, but there seems to have been a renewed outbreak of viagra spam in the past day or so.  This reminds me of what the Mothe says: “If you need a pill, it’s time to get a new hobby.”


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September 2009