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“fried bread” – me

  "Two Pieces of Bread Expressing the Sentiment of Love" - Salvador Dali

Two Pieces of Bread Expressing the Sentiment of Love (1940)

Salvador Dali

_____

for my mom, who wanted the recipe

fried bread

to

1 1/2 cups of flour, pick a flour, any
flour

add

1/2 tsp salt, and
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

I would think that eliminating salt
would give you merely a blander
bread, therefore salt is not
essential

and not adding baking powder
would simply produce a flatter
fry, therefore, theoretically, also
optional, but I’ve yet to test
these suppositions

though the recipe calls for 1 cup of
warm water, I’ve found that so much
water added to 1 and 1/2 cups of
flour makes the dough too limp and
unmanageable, so I recommend

1/2 cup of warm water

though water density, hard, soft,
probably depends on where you live

knead in more water by degrees if
your dough remains too dry

I also added

1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese, and
1 ample tbsp of fresh thyme

to the mix last night, though I’d
considered fresh basil, let it rise 20
minutes in a warm spot under a dry
cloth while I watched Sweden win
Eurovision 2015 from Vienna, rolled
out circles between two sides of a
piece of sealing wrap, folded over,
with extra flour between if needed,
the wrap helps to not make a mess
of your counter, made three large
rounds of dough out of my mix for
hearty slices, though less robust
portions would be, I’m sure, just
fine

fried each patty in up to

1/4 cup of oil, avocado had been
recommended, also coconut or
grape seed since, but I introduced
it only as needed not to overwhelm
either myself or the pan

flipped the cake once when the
top was becoming plump and
seemed to be breathing, when
the underside had become
golden brown

let the other side fry till equally
crusty and golden

had some last night with
Kaiserschinken, Kaiser’s ham,
and a firm Italian cheese,
Parrano Robusto

also a glass of cheap white wine

delicious

Richard

Mary MacMullen – a trooper‏

Mary MacMullen

Mary writes

“Hello friends,

I’m backpacking around Bali for a month on my own and am blogging about it. I didn’t think I would be back in Asia just 2 months after returning from Cambodia but here I am!

If you are interested in reading about my trip, which is being posted in The Province Newspaper online, here it is;

http://blogs.theprovince.com/author/travellingmom1951/

Cheers!
Mary

Sent from my iPad”

Mary and I met about 40 years ago, when
Mary, Gary and I happened upon each
other, each on our own individual
missions, of exploring the German city
of Mainz, a length of it along the Rhine,
up front from the riverside hotel where
our crews stayed, we hadn’t known
each other before then

the sun was out, we were young, others
with us preferred to go have breakfast,
we opted for a cruise up the river

we got to Rüdesheim and Bingen, one
across the water from the other, we had
dinner in one, celebrated Oktoberfest
in the other, sitting across from three
older ladies who couldn’t speak a word
of English so we had to make do with
my meagre then German and singing
along with the other beer drinkers in
the full and boisterous hall

what an event

the ladies ended up walking us to our
last train home, all of us soulfully
singing “Happy Birthday to You”,
cause that’s all the ladies knew how
to sing in English

later we partied in the lounge on the top
floor of our hotel, the three of us dancing
up a storm on an otherwise quiet evening,
keeping the band alive, we were intrepid
and joyous, playing duly in the fields of
a not unapproving Lord

the next day our flight was delayed,
three hours, surely only through the
intercession of that same benevolent
heaven

Mary has done, and is now continuing,
an exploration of Southeast Asia,
remarkably, on her own, first Cambodia,
now Bali, read all about it in her blog,
it’s riveting, you’ll want to be also 63,
already or all over again

her blog is wonderful for even just its
pictures, bright, sun-filled, glorious, but
she writes also like a trooper, you’ll be
completely enthralled, inspired

bookmark her site, she’s got a lot more
coming, to be dooby sure

Richard

the late sonatas of Beethoven‏

"Music" - Gustav Klimt

Music (1895)

Gustav Klimt

______

the last three sonatas of Beethoven have
always seemed to me a progression, the
first two being sketches for the third,
however accomplished these earlier ones
might’ve individually nevertheless been

they are not often heard chronologically,
pianists will usually play the full 32 in a
more representative order, some early,
some middle, some late Beethoven, as
they do, not unreasonably, in even less
comprehensive performances

but it’s instructive to hear them played
in a row

let me point out that the Hammerklavier“,
the piano sonata right before them, opus
106
, had already pronounced, with the
authority of the very Ten Commandments,
the purview of the piano, and by extension
the possibilities inherent in Western music,
or any music, for that matter, yet there was
more to come from this prophet, this
Nietzschean superman

the last sonata, the 32nd, the opus 111, is
his testament, a work of the utmost majesty,
humanity, and reflection, not only a
masterpiece but a prayer, a transcendence,
a musical rendition of the resurrection

this is what I heard one recent Sunday
night at a recital in the city

here are the three by, however, another
pianist, for the performer I saw wasn’t
available on the Internet, but these are
equally, if not even more, effective,
though the player, a youth still, is a boy
putting on a man’s shoes, audibly, they
are not, however, save for that karmic
insufficiency, a bad at all fit, bad is
never so inspiring

note the short, fast, explosive second
movements in both the 109 and 110,
prefiguring the first movement of 111

note how the last movement of the last
sonata
, instead of merely rendering
what had been considered beautiful
music, as in 109 and 110, breaks
through into a quite other dimension,
an irresistible level spirituality, a
transcendental elevation, an ascension,
a sublime trajectory for the secular age
which ‘d follow

there still hasn’t been heard anything
quite as profound

Richard

on watching broth boil‏

 "The Night of the Water Searcher" -  Stefan Caltia

The Night of the Water Searcher (2005)

Stefan Caltia

_______

though my friend whom I’d advised to
watch water boil probably didn’t heed
my suggestion, on the grounds that
she didn’t have the patience, much
as people who won’t do yoga do
despite the evident benefits, not
even myself for that matter, I’ve
continued to watch not only water
boil, identifying its myriad
permutations, but broth as well for
its incidence in homemade soup,
rice and, inadvertently lately, hot
toddies

before it erupts into a boil, a froth
will foam forming miniature bubbles
each the colour of rainbows until
they pop from the pressure that’s
built beneath them

Annie Lennox was on, I’d purchased
the video from iTunes of her latest
superb concert, to spend a quiet
evening while the chicken bones,
herbs and vegetables simmered

I haven’t yet even considered
watching anything simmer though,
certainly not yet broth

therefore Annie Lennox

her concert, “Nostalgia“, was a
recollection of blues greats that each
and every one of them had meaning,
roots in my, our, experience, songs
like Georgia“, “Summertime“, “It’s
Just the Nearness of You
“, “You
Belong to Me

I broke down at I Can Dream, Can’t I“,
needed lots of Kleenex

a song is a milestone, anchoring us to
our memories, to who we were then,
each time we hear it, over and over
again, like a chronological refrain,
informing us, each time, who we’ve
become, who we’ve been, if you don’t
remember the time or the place, each
fading in the distance, you remember
the feeling, how you incorporated the
meaning, made it fit you and your
particular ache, made you believe
this song must’ve been written for
you, however outlandish, however
improbable the idea, however
nevertheless real

Proust did the same with a crumpet,
a “madeleine”, dipped in tea, which
opened up for him remembrances
of afternoons at his grandmother’s
imprinted unconsciously on his
senses, and revived inadvertently
by a distant, but unexpectedly
related incident, a time warp

such is also the magic of music,
a means of keeping your soul
together

such is also art

Richard

psst: my eventual cheeseburger
soup, if you can believe it,
with ketchup, mustard, and
even dill pickles, turned out
to be delicious, a wonderful
accompaniment to an
evening of cozy, if
bittersweet, reminiscences

“a gull” – me


"The Rookery" -  Jamie Wyeth

The Rookery (1977)

Jamie Wyeth

_______

a gull

facing west into the imminent sunset,
a gull has been standing erect, of stone
nearly, atop the building across the
street from my high-rise window, little
by little in the darkening sky it’s
becoming its own silhouette, turning
from white to black against the
encroaching, still opalescent, evening

at one point it will disappear into the
night just standing there, black on
irrepressible black, ultimately
losing any distinction

should I listen

Richard

May, 2015

 "May" -  Jack Bush

May (1955)

Jack Bush

______

though the following poem might not be
a May poem in the traditional sense, the
play on words made it nevertheless to
my mind irresistible

May, not in the sense of what May is,
but May in its sense of what might be

Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Bob Dylan

____________

may your May be either way all of
those things

Richard

on odes

                          "The Daphnephoria" - Frederic Leighton

The Daphnephoria (c. 1875)

Frederic Leighton

________________

odes, with their suggestion of music
– despite a history of merely words
spoken in the intervening interim,
counting on meaning and rhythm
without music’s attendant tonality –
go back to the Greeks, the Seventh
Century, BCE, Sappho, for instance,
one of history’s most honoured
women poets, surely quite an
achievement for her in an age of
predominant, indeed
disenfranchising, masculinity

the ode was meant to accompany
tributes to people, events, things,
thereby acquiring an element of
acclamation and praise within its
dimensions, Pindar, ca 552 – 442
BCE, wrote odes for heroes of the
original Greek Olympics, for
instance

by the time of Horace, 65 – 8 BCE,
odes had become stylized,
independent of music, here’s one,
not inappropriately in this season’s
vernal context, to spring

odes remained spoken throughout
their resurrection in the wake of the
rediscovery of the Ancient World
during the Renaissance, onwards
through some famous Romantic
ones, Shelley, for instance, Keats,
up to even this one, by Stanislaw
Barańczak
, which I found in the
New Yorker
, April 20th, a gem, I
think, and in the very spirit of our
Age of Irony

Plywood

O plywood, second best to the real stuff,
believe me, one day I will say “Enough”

to my stooping shoulders, my slouched spine;
my sloped shape and your stiff boards will align,

and you’ll see how my backbone will unbend
and I’ll be standing straight until the end

of my makeshift but rectilinear
prayer, one stiff-backed as a chest of drawers

when we shove heavy furniture around;
I will rise from the dead, though on what ground

and which I, I don’t know; I’ll stand erect,
though my vertebrae’s hierarchic sect

won’t outlive plywood, no, it just can’t win
against that vertical eternity, so thin

and yet so sturdy in its ersatz pride;
as if the moon had shown me its dark side,

I lean, my ear glued to a cupboard’s back,
and I can hear its hollow and exact

hymn to its own cheap immortality;
no, wait, I still can straighten, still can be

square with this upright world (you knew I could),
just as plumb as four planks of real wood.

Stanisław Barańczak

(Translated, from the Polish,
by Clare Cavanagh and the author.)

__________

though you mightn’t’ve caught an “Ode”
in the title, the clue to its essence is in
the initial “O”, an acclamation

and yes, “O, Canada” is therefore also
an ode, as would be most anthems

incidentally Beethoven put the music
back into the form with his incendiary
use of Schiller’s poem for his vocal
triumph in his ninth Symphony, An
die Freude
“,
the Ode to Joy,
incomparable in this rendering for
an improbable 10,000
, yes 10,000, just
click

Richard

Beethoven’s tribute to spring

Sandro Botticelli - "Primavera"

Primavera (1478)

Sandro Botticelli

_________

if there’s a musical work to perform for
spring what Botticelli‘s Primavera
does with painting, celebrate it, that is,
for the ages, it must be Beethoven’s
“Pastorale”, German for “Pastoral”,
Symphony, usually referred to thus,
with the accent on the last “a”

the composition is expressly narrative,
Beethoven even sets the scene for every
movement, five of them

1 Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the countryside
2 Scene by the brook
3 Merry gathering of country folk
4 Thunderstorm
5 Shepherd’s song; cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm

he is manifestly using music as language,
descriptive language, you can nearly hear
the flowers grow, you can most definitely
imagine them, you bristle at the crack of
thunder

the subject isn’t specifically spring, but
the spirit is undeniably so, the spring of,
indeed also, the spirit, the buoyancy of
youth

it’s 1808, Beethoven is at the height of
his euphoria, his admiration, and
celebration, of physical nature, he’s
sowing his wild oats

later he’ll address the metaphysical,
but for now he’s still bursting with
unmitigated life, his spring

Richard

psst: see also his “Spring” Sonata, opus 24,
for still more, though less familiar,
vernal, purportedly, magic, Beethoven
didn’t name the sonata, his publisher
did, which is why the “Pastorale”
Symphony
sounds more springlike
than this other more direct, apparently,
offering

which had never been there, essentially,
Beethoven’s primary, anyway, intention,
however lovely the eponymous, the
titular, work
might have in comparison
proven to be

you be the judge, listen

R

an April poem‏

 "Red April" - Sam Gilliam

Red April (1970)

Sam Gilliam

_____

as March was a month of music for me,
specifically mostly Beethoven, with pop
but poignant love songs thrown in,
for
pathos and corresponding agony,
surefire anti-depressants, April is
purportedly the month of poems

here’s one, to itself, the month of
showers, flowers, but also of
ephemerality, evanescence,
regeneration and change, according
to this poem

don’t throw your Aprils away, it
says, tend to them, they’re what,
for better or worse, we have

Richard

________________

Song of a Second April

April this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago,
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Of dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.

There rings a hammering all day,
And shingles lie about the doors;
In orchards near and far away
The grey wood-pecker taps and bores;
The men are merry at their chores,
And children earnest at their play.

The larger streams run still and deep,
Noisy and swift the small brooks run
Among the mullein stalks the sheep
Go up the hillside in the sun,
Pensively,—only you are gone,
You that alone I cared to keep.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

septet / schleptet – Beethoven / Schikele‏

"The Swing" ("Les hasards heureux de l'escarpolette") -  Jean Honoré Fragonard

The Swing (“Les hasards heureux de l’escarpolette“) 1767

Jean Honoré Fragonard

_____

though I’ve spent the last forty years
exploring Beethoven, I still haven’t
heard, much less seen performed
all of his music, unexpected gems
pop up still to prick up even my
weathered ears

but a septet this time, who’d ‘a’
thunk it

the opus 20, not unexpectedly, sounds
like Mozart, formal, musically inventive,
but not prompted by Beethoven’s later
transcendental passions, it was 1800,
he was still showing off his Classical
shoes, spinning andante cantabiles
out of minuets, for no less than Maria
Theresa in this instance, the Empress,
its august dedicatee, not yet having
profoundly outgrown them, the tiara,
the shoes, though you’ll find
expressions of his surpassing majesty
already throughout this masterpiece

six movements, for instance, uppity,
impudent, bold, an impertinence
towards imperial time and its
exigencies, unless it’s worth it, of
course, even in the case of my own
more relaxed schedule

but a precursor to his seven-part
C# minor String Quartet, opus 131,
for its breadth, for its ambition, for
the prefiguring of a monument, a
cultural institution, for its
proclamation of the advent of a
veritable sonic Parthenon

you’ll note a peculiarity, he uses
in the Septet‘s third movement
the same air that served him well
in his 20th piano sonata, opus 49,
no 2
, second movement – why not,
it’s his – an earlier composition
despite the later opus number

don’t ask

opus 49, no 2 has only two
movements, incidentally, like his
earlier opus 5, no 1, or his later
incandescent no 111, to shed light
on the chronology of his musical
evolution, his eventual historical
apotheosis

find the movement with variations
in the Septet, your body will tell
you, much like it does slow tempi
from fast ones, you merely listen
with your senses, not just your
ears, your unconsciousness, while,
distractedly, you’re, say, washing
dishes, you’ll say, hey, I’ve just
heard this before, but different,
only this minute

hence the term variation

compare this Schleptet in Eb major,
from Peter Schikele for fun, from
the year 2000, a spoof on Beethoven’s
Septet
in the identical key the
better to roast him, but in five
movements this one, in the Classical
style, but where the mood is neither
Classical, nor even Romantic, it’s
ironic, satirical, wry, even cynical,
note the slapstick tempo markings

I. Molto Larghissimo – Allegro Boffo
II. Menuetto con brio ma senza Trio
III. Adagio Saccharino
IV. Yehudi Menuetto
V. Presto Hey Nonny Nonnio

the voice, for better or worse, of our
time

Richard

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