Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States. Shorn of parades and football games, it is a day of reflection and, well, giving thanks for one's blessings. These things aren't so popular in today's world - perhaps they never really were, I can't tell. But in the mad press of commercialism and politics and celebrity news and all the rest of the rush-rush, gotta fill the twenty-four hour news cycle, exploit-umentary, mostly empty blather of modern life it is nice to be reminded to pause and think.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Catreona in Quizziland

As you know, Dear Reader, for some time I've belonged to Fun Trivia. Indeed, I received my Old Timer badge for five years of membership in March, though I haven't been active all that time. Took a sabbatical of several months along the way. I'm active now, playing quizzes and games, taking on challenges to earn badges, participating in discussion threads and, rather absorbingly, playing in The Global Challenge,Quizziland's periodic tournament.

I also write quizzes, with twenty-four under my belt. Currently working on Silver, a general quiz with questions from across Fun Trivia to celebrate No. 25. It's not easy. The great majority of my quizzes are on Pop music, with a couple on Literature. One needs to stretch one's wings now and then, I suppose. And naturally, there is a book question and a song question in Silver; those were the first questions I thought of. Still, I'll be glad to get back to my comfort zone. Several Music and Literature quizzes are awaiting my attention. Always so much to do!

Link

Visit me on Fun Trivia

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dreaming with Linda

Recently I read and enjoyed Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir by Linda Ronstadt. Her descriptions, especially of the Arizona desert where she grew up, are vivid, her portrait of the California Folk and Rock scene in the late '60s and early '70s, equally clear and engaging. This is not one of those dreadful tell-all books. Her friends and romantic interests make brief appearances if at all, though she does tell a funny anecdote involving Jerry Brown and a dinner invitation to Rosemary Cluney's house. Instead, Linda concentrates on her music and the career path it led her on, though not without one or two insights into her inner self, such as her interest in Berlin between the Wars. Warm, gentle, serious yet with a lighthearted touch, Simple Dreams is an easy yet absorbing read.

Monday, November 17, 2014

St Hugh of Lincoln

Today is the feastday of St. Hugh of Lincoln, a Carthusian monk, the first of his order to be canonized (1220).

A man of sanctity, uprightness and great energy, Hugh accomplished much in his life being an abbot, a bishop, a diocisan and educational reformer, a defender of human rights and a diplomat. At the time of the Protestant Reformation, he was the second most venerated english saint, behind only Thomas à Becket.

St. Hugh of Lincoln is the patron saint of sick people and especially sick children, shoemakers and, curiously, of swans.

Links

Hugh of Lincoln at Wikipedia Hugh of Lincoln at The Patron saints Index

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sweet Sunday

Here is a beautiful song written by the multitalented Kay Thompson and sung by the angelic voice of Andy Williams.

Have a peaceful Sunday.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The sere, the yellow leaf

- Photo courtesy of Listener
at Howard Empowered People
I have lived long enough. My way of life
Is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf,
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have, but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath
Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.
- Macbeth: Act v Scene 3

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rediscovering A Favorite

Lately, I've been reading and rereading thrillers by Dick Francis, the British champion jockey turned master mystery writer, whose books first came into my hands when I was a teenager in the '70s. I've read a fair number of his 40 plus books, and plan to read them all eventually.

Whether it's one I've read before or a new adventure, every book is interesting, exciting and beautifully written. His descriptions of the English countryside are vivid; his insight into human nature sometimes startling in its acuteness.

Always set against a racing background, each book is nonetheless unique, exploring some different aspect of life. For example, Banker's protagonist works in an investment bank and the mystery involves his job. Similarly in Risk, understanding the protagonist's work as an accountant helps in understanding the mystery. In Proof, the wine merchant protagonist has to solve a murder in the world of wine and spirits.

Of course, jockeys and former jockeys appear as Francis heroes as well, my favorite being Kit Fielding, who stars in Break In and Bolt.

Felix Francis, Dick's son who helped with research especially in latter years, has taken up his father's mantle and is now a successful writer in his own right. I've already read a couple of Felix's books and look forward to reading more.