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The name of this concerto “Die Relinge” means “the frogs.”  You’ll quickly see why.  This whimsical little piece always reminds me of cool, wet late spring evenings when the woods behind the port-swiller residence are filled with the sounds of croaking.

This YouTube features Musica Antiqua Coln with Reinhart Goebel, who are my general go-to group for All Things Telemann.  However, if you’re ever looking for a CD of this particular piece to buy, I own a recording by the New London Consort and Philip Pickett which I believe is just a leetle bit better.  (It also features a performance of Telemann’s Wassermusick, but in that case I think Reinhart and the boys did a better job.)

Garn! Discussing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with the eldest gel this morning, she having polished off his “The Devil’s Foot” for school, I mentioned that I believed he had invented a kind of mini-sextant device that could be attached to a rifle and used to calculate the angle for delivery of a dropping fire into an enemy trench.  I also mentioned that I thought he had tried to sell the British Army on using it to fight against the Boers, but couldn’t drum up any interest.

A look around the intertubes doesn’t seem to confirm my belief.  Pondering further, I wonder if I meant Kipling, instead?  Churchill, maybe?  I’m pretty sure it was one of those Edwardian literary wallahs. 

Does this tale sound familiar to any of my fellow port-swillers, or am I just losing my mind?

Recently, I have been making my way via Netflix through the old James Burke series Connections.

When this series first aired on PBS in the late 70’s, I positively adored it as only a thirteen year old geek could.  Each week, I would catch not only the original airing, which was (I  believe) on Friday night, but  the rerun on Saturday morning as well.   I was absolutely mesmerized by the stories of invention and interconnection and the blended paths of science and history.

I find on reviewing them, however, that back in the day I was so focused on the meat of the programs, I totally overlooked certain political pieties that pervade Burke’s presentation.  Modern Society a technological trap devised by ruthless Capitalists.  Europeans backwards, barbaric and exploitative.  Church little more than voodoo.  Behold the enlightenment of the Islamic Middle Ages!  That sort of thing.  Burke has to talk fast and present a tremendous amount of information in a very few words, and I find his thumbnail sketches to be heavily biased.  One suspects that he reads a lot of Eric Hobsbawm.

I don’t think I like the series quite as much now as I used to.


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September 2010