Friday, October 31, 2014

Danse Macabre, Opus 40 
by Camille Saint Saens 
(first performed in 1875) 

The National Philharmonic Orchestra,
Leopold Stokowski, conductor.

This vivid, programmatic work was inspired by a poem of Henri Cazalis, who based it on an old French superstition. In Saint Saen’s orchestral interpretation we hear Death, represented by a solo violin, striking a cadence –– Zig! Zig! Zig! –– Death striking with his heel a tomb –– Death at midnight playing a dance-tune. The winter wind blows, the night is dark –– we hear moans in the linden trees. Through the gloom, stark white skeletons appear –– running and leaping in their shrouds –– each one frisking maniacally. The bones of these ghastly figures crack — But Pssssst! The cock crows, dawn has arrived, and all of a sudden the dancers stop, move forward, take flight and vanish.

According to the ancient superstition, "Death" appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death has the power to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle. His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.

The piece opens with a harp playing a single note, D, twelve times to signify the clock striking midnight, accompanied by soft chords from the string section. This leads to Death’s eerie, unsettling rhythmic striking of the tritone (A and Eb) also known as “The Devil's Chord." The main theme is then heard on solo flute followed by a descending scale in the solo violin. 

The Oh BOO G-man!

The rest of the orchestra, particularly the lower strings, join the descending scale. The main theme followed by the descending scale motif is then heard throughout the various sections of the orchestra until it returns to the solo violin and the harp. 

The piece becomes more energetic and reaches a frenzied climax at this point with full orchestra playing with great intensity. Towards the end of the piece  we hear another violin solo soon joined joined by the rest of the orchestra. The final section played pianissimo, represents the dawn breaking as the skeletons return  to their graves.

The work makes particular use of the xylophone to imitate the sounds of rattling bones. 

[NOTE: Artwork: Remedios Varo, "Les Feuilles Mortes."]

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014



TOMORROW we will bring this ALL-TOO BRIEF SERIES to a CLOSE with minutely detailed instructions on how to prepare PEIPING DUCK –– 
a mouth watering treat to be sure!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Octopus Salad

If you’ve never tasted Octopus, you’ll find it’s a lot like calamari, just stronger, and meatier.  Mexican Octopus Salad (“ensalada de pulpo”) made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, and chiles makes a wonderful side dish, main dish for a luncheon, or can be exquisite as a topping for tacos or tostadas. Octopus isn’t always available at local markets but sometimes it appears at a local Whole Foods  Store, and then it’s time size the opportunity make mincemeat of the slithery looking sea beast. Octopus Slad may be made like a ceviche made where the octopus is cooked without heat in an acidic marinade. but for his recipe the octopus will be blanched first by plunging it into boiling water, then slowly stewing it in its own juices with fragrant herbs. Ths process concentrates the natural flavor of the octopus  as it absorbs flavor from the herbs. Slow cooking helps tenderize the normally rubbery texture of the octopus so that it’s texture resembles that of a steamed lobster. After cooking we cool, then chop the meat, toss it with the tomatoes and other vegetables set aside in a dressing made of lime juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, and then chill it for several hours.

OCTOPUS SALAD (Ensalada de Pulpo)


One 2-3 pound octopus, cleaned
S&P to taste
A few sprigs of fresh oregano
A few sprigs of fresh parsley
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro
1 cup seeded, chopped cucumber,
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3 scallions, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 
1/2 cup (loose) chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped, seeded fresh tomatoes


1. Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. 

Place the raw octopus in the boiling water, return the water to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. 

Remove the Octopus from the pot and place to cool on a sheet pan. 

Discard the cooking water.

Cut Octopus into large pieces, discard  the guts, beak, ink sac,may have  been neglected in the cleaning process. Place the pieces of Octopus on the herbs.

3. Place a bed of the parsley, cilantro, fresh oregano in a small Dutch oven or covered casserole. Put Octopus over the herbs, cover and bake at 250° for 1 3/4 hours, until tender.

4. Remove the pieces of octopus to a sheet pan to cool. When cool to touch, pull off any gelatinous bits that surround the pieces of the octopus you  may not want to eat. They taste good, but you may not like the slimy texture. If rubbery slime doesn’t bother you, just leave it. The small round pieces of meat that resemble eyeballs are not eyeballs, but loose suction cups from the creature’s tentacles. They also taste good so don’t be squeamish. Cut the meat of the Octopus into 1/2-inch pieces. 

5. Place the chopped octopus into a large, mixing bowl.  Add the cucumbers, red onion, scallions, cilantro, dried oregano, and jalapeño,  the lime juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and stir to combine.  Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, but better overnight.  Just before serving  stir in the chilled chopped tomatoes.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I know some lonely houses off the road
A robber 'd like the look of, -
Wooden barred,
And windows hanging low,
Inviting to
A portico,
Where two could creep:
One hand the tools,
The other peep
To make sure all's asleep.
Old-fashioned eyes,
Not easy to surprise!

How orderly the kitchen 'd look by night,
With just a clock, -
But they could gag the tick,
And mice won't bark;
And so the walls don't tell,
None will.

A pair of spectacles ajar just stir -
An almanac's aware.
Was it the mat winked,
Or a nervous star?
The moon slides down the stair
To see who's there.

There's plunder, - where?
Tankard, or spoon,
Earring, or stone,
A watch, some ancient brooch
To match the grandmamma,
Staid sleeping there.

Day rattles, too,
Stealth's slow;
The sun has got as far
As the third sycamore.
Screams chanticleer,
"Who's there?"
And echoes, trains away,
Sneer- "Where?"
While the old couple, just astir,
Fancy the sunrise left the door ajar!

~ Emily  Dickinson (1830-86)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Submitting to God’s Purpose

10/25/2014 - MY UTMOST for HIS HIGHEST (emphasis added by FT)

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some — 1 Corinthians 9:22

A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” 
All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose HE has given them. 
Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. 
We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no purpose of God’s almighty grace or His mighty Word in them. Paul’s whole heart, mind, and soul were consumed with the great purpose of what Jesus Christ came to do, and he never lost sight of that one thing. We must continually confront ourselves with one central fact— “. . . Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
“I chose you . . .” (John 15:16). Keep these words as a wonderful reminder in your theology. It is not that you have gotten God, but that He has gotten you. God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. And why is He doing it? He is doing it for only one purpose— that He may be able to say, “This is My man, and this is My woman.” We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, (Jesus Christ), just as He has placed us.
Never choose to be a worker, but once God has placed His call upon you, woe be to you if you “turn aside . . . to the right or the left . . .” (Deuteronomy 28:14). He will do with you what He never did before His call came to you, and He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.
~ Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

Friday, October 24, 2014


OCTOBER 23, 2014 5:33 PM

The Nightly News' Curious Disinterest in the Midterm Elections

by Jim Geraghty

The Newsbusters guys chuckle at a CNBC discussion of the lack of network news coverage of the midterm elections, compared to 2006. 
The Media Research Center watched the network news broadcasts and counted up the news stories: “When Democrats were feeling good about their election prospects eight years ago, the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and ABC’s World News aired a combined 159 campaign stories (91 full reports and another 68 stories that mentioned the campaign). But during the same time period this year, those same newscasts have offered a paltry 25 stories (16 full reports and 9 mentions), a six-to-one disparity.”
The Newsbusters guys take issue with CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood’s explanations, including the claim ”this is an election where there isn’t a dominant issue, you’ve got a whole bunch of little issues.” But this fall’s news cycle hasn’t really had a bunch of little issues; it’s had two really big ones with lots of different daily developments: the Ebola outbreak and then the U.S. beginning (and continuing) air operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, along the blame game over whether the administration underestimated ISIS. Both of those can be covered outside of a campaign context, or within it… 
The simplest, and most likely explanation, is that the networks are eager and excited to cover elections when Democrats are expected to win and much less interested and easily distracted when Republicans are expected to win.
That having been said, there are one or two non-ideological explanations, too.
First, the network news broadcasts may be a lot more light and fluffy feature stories these days compared to eight years ago. Last night’s NBC News broadcast featured “thousands of shelter dogs in need of new homes and families, and the armies of volunteers helping to get them there.” Hey, everybody loves footage of puppies.
Second, the 2006 wave election changed the House and the Senate, changing the dynamic of Washington from a Republican President working with a Republican Congress to a Republican President working with a Democratic Congress. Because this year is going to leave us with a Democratic President and a Republican House — and probably, although not yet certainly, a Republican Senate — the dynamic will change less dramatically. A lot of voters on both sides of the political divide feel that the stakes aren’t particularly high. 
Andrew Ross Sorkin offers the theory, “there’s not an interesting candidate in this whole situation?” That explanation isn’t particularly compelling. Joni Ernst isn’t interesting? Harvard Iraq veteran Tom Cotton isn’t interesting? Cory Gardner’s not interesting? Scott Brown trying to win two senatorial elections in two different states in a four-year span isn’t interesting?

[NOTE: Jim Geraghty is a contributing editor to the National Review. He writes the Campaign Spot blog for National Review Online, and regularly appears on Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC. Jim's first book was Voting to Kill (2006), about how the 9/11 attacks affected American voters. He also guest hosts the nationally syndicated Hugh Hewitt Show. Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimgeraghty ]

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Mr. Bill from New Hampshire Speaks Out

Barack Hussein Obama is likely to go down in history as a great propagandist on the order of Joseph Goebbels.  In every single scandal or issue that has arisen during his time in office, he professes to know nothing about it, and then claims he cannot comment because an “investigation” that never answers the key questions asked is pending.  
“Please don’t disturb my golf game or disturb my fund raising efforts” seem to be his primary concerns.

Think of the serious scandals we've endured under his leadership: 

BENGHAZI and the killing of an Ambassador and his defenders, 

The NSA SPYING on every aspect of everyone’s lives everywhere, 

The outrageous PARTISAN PERSECUTIONS by the IRS of decent Americans merely trying to gain a voice in the political [tpcess, 

FAST and FURIOUS giving arms to drug lords and terrorists in order to fuel the anti-gun agenda of the Obama Administration; the INADEQUACIES of the VA in assisting sick and wounded Veterans.

The OPEN BORDER policy that has welcomed and encouraged the invasions of tens of thousands of children and teenagers many of them criminals and carriers of dread diseases.

Unbelievably, the master manipulators always put this president up in front of the microphones, as each scandal breaks,  to tell us he “found out from the press reports”.  

Now we may surmise from his reported absence at nearly sixty percent of his scheduled intelligence briefings that most probably he was acting on his own personal agenda instead of responding properly to intelligence pertinent to real crises.

Obama's Open Border policy is a deliberate and deceitful strategy for attempting to shame Americans into feeling compassion “for the poor children” when in reality it will very likely do great injury to our societal peace, cause major health problems nationwide, overburden our schools with impossible demands, all of which may very well lead to anarchy. 

The best example of these incursions and depredations against domestic tranquillity as official White House Strategy is having Homeland Security advertise in January for contractors to assist “65,000 unaccompanied alien children” from Central America long before their arrival, and then implementing the secret dissemination of these “children,” –– many of whom are physically mature teenagers with gang tattoos and a criminal history to match –– to forty states. Most of the governors involved were not told, and the only tangible evidence of where these illegal alien children are is the sudden eruption of EV68,  a virus that produces symptoms closely resembling those of Polio Myelitis, Tuberculosis, Whooping Cough and other Third World diseases once virtually eradicated in these United States.  

As a former 1954 polio victim, myself, though extremely lucky to have made a good recovery, I feel this alone ought to qualify Obama for Impeachment, Conviction and summary expulsion from office.

Consider too the other assaults on our society fomented by Open Borders’  de facto amnesty creating an underclass of illegal aliens who become instant welfare recipients. Paid to do nothing, many of these people export much of the money back to their country of origin, thus removing it from our economy.  I believe the proper term for this is not “Wealth Redistribution” but outright THEFT, authorized by government bureaucrats in our name.  

Then there is the welcoming of criminals –– members of Drug Cartels, rapists,  robbers, pedophiles, and possibly ISIS terrorists –– into the US too, and their forced release by the Feds whenever picked up by the Border Patrol.

It seems clear Obama has purposely kept our borders open, because his possible agenda might be to push us into an all-out civil war. Of course this would happen after they’ve used these unfortunate elements to stuff the ballot boxes in key states just as they appear to have done in 2012. Busloads of illegals pushed to “get out the vote.” 

If this were not true, pr at the very least a strong possibility, why do you suppose the Democrats  are fighting tooth and claw with outrageous accusations of “racism,” and all manner of specious logic to stop states from implementing mandatory Voter ID laws?

Purging our military of officers and soldiers loyal to the United States of America and replacing them with sycophants loyal to Obama’s ruinous, socialist Agenda seems to be the order of the day. 

As the father of a military man, this has me most concerned.  Look at Private Bergdahl, the ONE pathetic deserter traded by Obama for FIVE leading Islamic terrorists, welcomed back to our ranks and protected from punishment for his cowardice and treasonous behavior(according to all of those who served with him).

Then there is the ever present agenda of RACISM – touted and shouted incessantly by the Obama administration and its media stooges egged on by professional racists such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.  

It’s ironic that Ferguson grabbed headlines because a white cop shot a black criminal suspect, but no news whatsoever has been heard  about the Hispanic cop who shot a truly innocent white boy in Kansas City.  Why not?  Because it doesn’t fit the Leftist propagandists “narrative.” 

Obama is ignoring our laws and riding roughshod over the Constitution in order to reduce us to Third World status.   If that isn’t true, he’s certainly giving a marvelous impression of it.

The GDP is down 1% in each of the last two quarters, and if we use real statistics, actual unemployment stands at roughly 23%. The White House in conjunction with government bureaucrats shamelessly manipulate the statistics for self-serving political purposes. Whatever you thought –– please realize they don’t want you to think about how Obama has declared war on our country's traditional values while reducing our freedoms.

Only a criminal or a maniac would attempt to torch his own country, and burn it to the ground. These are not the actions of a loyal president or commander-in-chief but those of a terrorist and a traitor.  

We have a need to drive out of Government any who believe in this poseur called Barack Hussein Obama, and work, instead, to do whatever may be possible to make our government responsive to the needs and desires of we citizens who are forced to fund it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

You will not find commentary on Ebola or any other issue of this high a quality on screeching, roaring Marxian-Leftist-Progressive-Liberal-Demcratic blogs which devote themselves strictly to spewing sarcastic denunciations, fabrications, and vitriolic distortions aimed at Conservative and Libertarians. Ms. Noonan is and always has been a perfect lady.

The Travel Ban 
And the New Czar

Peggy Noonan’s blog

Daily declarations from the Wall Street Journal columnist.

12:19 am ET

Oct 19, 2014

Saturday morning I was thinking of Pascal ... He had a mordant observation about the physicians of his time. Doctors in those days dressed fancy—long robes, tall hats. From memory: Why do doctors wear tall hats? Because they can’t cure you.
Why do public health officials speak in public as they do, with the plonking bureaucratic phrases and the air of windy evasion? Because they can’t cure you. Because they don’t really know what they’re doing. I think they are reassured by their voices, like children who wake up from a nightmare and say in the darkness, “That’s not true.”

* * *

In his Saturday radio address, the subject of which was Ebola, the president warned the public against “hysteria.”
Again, the public isn’t hysterical but concerned. One reason is that they have witnessed a series of bad decisions by the government and its institutions. Another is that they know there’s no one to trust in this crisis, no official person who is in charge and seems equal to the task.
A third component of public anxiety has to do with what normal people can see and imagine, which they have a sense the government isn’t capable of seeing and imagining.
What normal people can see and imagine is that three Ebola cases have severely stressed the system. Washington is scrambling, the Centers for Disease Control is embarrassed, local hospitals are rushing to learn protocols and get in all necessary equipment. Nurses groups and unions have been enraged, the public alarmed—and all this after only three cases.
What would it look like if there were 300? That is not a big number in a nation of over 300 million. Yet it would leave the system hyperstressed, and hyperstressed things break down.
How many people and professionals have been involved in the treatment, transport, tracking, monitoring, isolation and public-information aspects of the three people who became ill? Again, what if it were 300—could we fully track, treat and handle all those cases? If scores of people begin over the next few weeks going to hospital emergency rooms with Ebola, how many of their doctors, nurses, orderlies, office staffers, communications workers and technicians would continue to report to their jobs? All of them at first, then most of them. But as things became more ragged, pressured and dangerous, would they continue?
This is why people are concerned. They can imagine how all this could turn south so fast, with only a few hundred cases. This is why the White House claims that we will not have a widespread breakout is fatuous: Even a limited breakout would take us into uncharted territory.
The only thing that will calm the public is competence. Until they see it, warnings about hysteria will be experienced as patronizing and deeply self-serving.

* * *

On the subject of a travel ban, the administration and those media members who function as its allies have produced a number of airy statements and sentiments. All of it feels like deliberate obfuscation and confusing of issues.
We have experienced Ebola in the United States because a Liberian citizen carrying the illness came here on a plane. That is why two of his nurses, so far, have gotten sick, and why scores of people are being tracked.
In order to enter the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan had to apply for a U.S. visitor visa. He did so, saying he wished to travel to Texas to attend his son’s high-school graduation. Mr. Duncan was granted a visa and flew from Monrovia to Brussels to Dulles to Dallas.
The question is whether the U.S. should, for now, ban the issuance of visas to citizens of the three West African nations where the illness is known to exist. That is what a travel ban would be.
Those opposed to it have taken to noting that there are no or very few direct flights from the affected nations to the U.S., and that citizens from the affected states can fly to other nations first, and then connect to the U.S.
That has nothing to do with the question of a ban. Direct versus indirect flights don’t matter because airplanes don’t catch and die of Ebola, people do. No matter how you get to the U.S. from the affected regions, to get in legally you need a visa.
There is the charge that a travel ban would isolate the three nations. But why “isolate?” First, we are only talking about U.S. travel; we are talking about keeping citizens of the affected nations from entering the US. Help can and would continue to go into those nations. Charter planes certainly could and would go in. Other airlines might too. Health workers would continue to go in, as would supplies of all sorts.
On returning from the nations in question, U.S. citizens and others would presumably have to be placed under quarantine. But health-care volunteers, of all people, wouldn’t let that stop them.
The president, in his Saturday address, argued against a ban: “Trying to seal off an entire region of the world—if that were even possible—could actually make the situation worse.”
Well, no one has called for trying to “seal off” anything, not to mention “an entire region of the world.” This is just the president trying to paint those who oppose him as frightened and delusional.
And how would a ban make the situation worse? The president: “It would make it harder to move health workers and supplies back and forth.” But again, how? Why? Health-care workers would continue to go in.
“Experience shows that it could also cause people in the affected region to change their travel, to evade screening, and make the disease even harder to track.” This appears to be wordage in pursuit of a thought. If citizens of the three nations need a visa to come here, and are not given those visas, exactly what does the president think they will do to harm themselves, their countries, or us? Duncan himself, in fact, evaded screening even with a visa: He failed to self-report having been near Ebola when asked about it at the Monrovia airport.
Nor will the new screening at U.S. airports prove an adequate replacement for a ban. Those carrying the virus who show no symptoms will breeze through, as Duncan did.
What will help keep people with Ebola from entering the U.S. is denying U.S. travel visas to those from the affected countries.
Some critics, finally, say that a ban won’t work 100%. Let’s posit that. But if it works 78%, or 32%, isn’t it worth it?
The burden is on those who oppose a ban to make a hard, factual, coherent and concrete case. It is telling that so far they have not been able to.

* * *

On the appointment of Ron Klain as the president’s so-called Ebola Czar, much is made of his lack of medical or scientific background. I’m not sure that’s important.
More significant is that Klain is a longtime, hard-line Democratic Party operative who is known more for spin and debate prep than high-level management. That suggests the White House sees the Ebola crisis as foremost a political messaging problem. The president certainly seems unafraid of appearing to see the problem as a political messaging one. Obama's primary focus when choosing Klain looks self-indulgent: “Whom do I trust and like to work with? as opposed to “What does the public require and the situation demand?”
Ebola is going to prove spin-resistant: In fact, the more you spin down the deeper you’re going to get in the hole.
A problem with the Klain appointment is that he does not have natural commanding presence and public authority. The administration blew its initial handling of the crisis. What is needed is a Gen. Schwarzkopf sort of figure who could stand there at the morning briefing and tell you what’s happening and you know he’s telling it to you true. A straight-shooting retired general or admiral, or a civilian—an independent CEO with a public reputation, someone known for getting things done, someone with his own lines of communication to the media and political class. A Mike Bloomberg—someone who doesn’t need you, who can walk away from the job if he doesn’t get the tools and is feared inside because he can walk.
Someone who is not only bigger than Ron Klain but bigger than Barack Obama.
Instead, the president appointed a political mover and partisan operator who was played in a movie by Kevin Spacey.
Why does that seem such a consequential mistake?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In a Persian Market


Albert W. Ketelbey (1875-1959)

Ketèlbey was born in Alma Street in the Lozells area of Birmingham, England, the son of an engraver, George Henry Ketelbey, and Sarah Ann Aston. 

At the age of eleven he wrote a piano sonata that won praise from Edward Elgar. Ketèlbey gained a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music in London, where he showed his talent for playing various orchestral instruments reflected in the masterfully colourful orchestrations, especially of oriental inspiration, that became his trademark. 

While at Trinity he beat Gustav Holst in competition for a musical scholarship ...

Ketèlbey held a number of positions, including organist at St John's, Wimbledon, before being appointed musical director of London's Vaudeville Theatre ... While at the Vaudeville he continued writing diverse vocal and instrumental music. 

Later, he became famous for composing popular light-classical music, much of which was used to accompany silent films, and as mood music at tea dances. Success enabled him to relinquish his London appointments ... Although not proven, he is frequently quoted as becoming Britain's first millionaire composer. 

In 1929 he was proclaimed "Britain's Greatest Living Composer" in the Performing Right Gazette as , on the basis of the sheer number of performances of his works.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Vivaciously vicious Ebola
Lurks in cola, and on your Victrola
Or someone’s lapel.
You never can tell
Where she’ll hit you just like Gay Enola!