Jul 30

StraussWalzesStrauss (Family) Waltzes, Polkas and Marches, performed by Wiener Philharmoniker, Willi Boskovsky ★★★★

I love the Viennese music of the Strauss family. These pieces are very uplifting, and all have a strong march or dance beat. Willi Boskovsky and the Wiener Philharmoniker does a superlative job of recreating these pieces, and the recordings are flawless.

That having been said, I listened to these pieces straight through, a full 6 CDs, 7 hours and 24 minutes. I became convinced that it would be a torture worse than anything the Chinese ever had invented  to lock somebody in a room and play them this music continuously. In 24 hours, they would be totally insane. Three quarters time music endlessly heard with the same stylistic phrase and piece endings drives one crazy. The Strausses thankfully had the ability to invent wonderful tunes. Who could not become addicted to An der Schönen Blauen Donau, Frühlingsstimmen, Wiener Bonbons, etc., etc. Yet, creativity has its bad side, with orchestral imitations that are cheap, such as bird song, explosions, thunder and lightning, and the like, which are more annoying than beautiful. Viennese Strauss music is best heard with lots of champagne or beer on board, and works as well with the accordion polka band as with the full orchestra. We will leave the Strauss family to the occasional listening circuit.

This set is a beautiful compendium of the Viennese Strauss family music. There are larger sets, but I fear listening to such a set would drive the insanity to much deeper levels. Stick with this set and you won’t go wrong.

 

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Jul 27

1. Adventure #1 – cycling with Aaron in the Willamette Valley 12-13JUL2013

Oddly, I didn’t get any cycling photos, as I didn’t want to carry a heavy camera along, and I was riding my new Gran Feuchto, which doesn’t have any racks.  You can see the course of the rides for each of the two days here…

a) Saturday

b) Sunday 

Here of some photos that were taken while NOT riding…

Aaron and I relaxing on the back porch

Aaron and I relaxing on the back porch

Aaron reading in the backyard Hammock

Aaron reading in the backyard Hammock

Anita in the garden. They have raised gardens.

Anita shows her green thumb in the garden. They have raised gardens.

The backyard greenhouse

The backyard greenhouse

Aaron built a shed in the backyard with an extension to hold a hammock. A MOST brilliant idea!

Aaron built a shed in the backyard with an extension to hold a hammock. A MOST brilliant idea!

2. Adventure #2 – Backpacking with the Flanagan Grandchildren to Summit Lake 19-20JULY2013.

I had promised Patrick and Sammy a backpacking trip this year, but wasn’t feeling in tiptop shape so decided on a shorter hike, 2.5 miles but mostly straight up. We decided that since the hike was short, we would also take Ethan. The kids were a total joy to have along, watching them discover the delights of getting out into the wild and discovering the unknown.

Summit Lake. The hill in the background is what we were standing on in the next photo.

Summit Lake. The hill in the background is what we were standing on in the next photo.

A wonderful view of Mt. Rainier from Summit Hill

A wonderful view of Mt. Rainier from Summit Hill

 

The loop around the lake without our packs on

The loop around the lake without our packs on

 

Patrick in great style. The kids were frequently preoccupied with the snow.

Patrick in great style. The kids were frequently preoccupied with the snow.

 

Massive fields of glacier lilies were noted. They grow only in a small region of the NW.

Massive fields of glacier lilies were noted. They grow only in a small region of the NW.

Tired children reluctant to wake up the next morning.

Tired children reluctant to wake up the next morning.

Three happy children and one happy dad at the end of the trip.

Three happy children and one happy dad at the end of the trip.

This was the first trip in which I was able to utilize my new camera, an EOS M. It is a mirrorless camera, with the same resolution and controls as most of the EOS rebel line, 18 MPixel, APC format, but with interchangeable lenses. Its action in focusing and taking photos is a little slow, which okay for mostly scenic and landscape photos. There is no flash, but I have a very small flash designed to work with the camera. One can also put a gps apparatus on the camera.

Canon EOS M.

Canon EOS M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jul 27

Dean-1Dean Kenneth Crum, born 09JULY2013 to Doug and Diane Crum. Yet another grandchild, making it 8. He’s a real cutie, and well behaved. May he always grow in wisdom and strength and love for the Lord. Opa will need to take him on his first backpack trip, and help him enjoy his first cigar and beer.

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Jul 27

Napolitano3in1Three in One (Constitutional Chaos, The Constitution in Exile, and A Nation of Sheep), by Andrew Napolitano ★★★★

Napolitano can be a quite depressing writer to read. These three books, while published separately between 2003 and 2007, deal with similar issues, and have a very similar writing style, making them completely appropriate to publish together.  Napolitano, in these three books, gives the reader a barrage of documented court cases which show how the courts have ignored the constitution in their deliberations. Constitutional Chaos deals with how the government is the largest lawbreaker of them all. Free speech is gagged, respect for private property is not held, government will commit crimes in order to supposedly catch criminals, and often will force somebody into a crime in order to convict them. Worse, the government will bribe witnesses, intimidate witnesses to force convictions, and will deny a person habeas corpus, all while pretending to be operating in good faith with the constitution. Napolitano describes his journey away from being a die-hard Republican into thinking both parties are accomplices in destroying the constitution The Constitution in Exile continues the theme, this time providing a broader history of court cases from history, starting with Marbury vs. Madison, showing how the courts have engaged in judicial review, an activity not permitted by the constitution. Napolitano ends with a discussion of the PATRIOT act, showing how it has essentially removed any sense of right to privacy, all in the name of security. A Nation of Sheep extends the privacy issue, and argues with bewilderment as to why the US public would let the US government get away with what they do. The public doesn’t seem to understand that a small amount of security is coming at the cost of all of our freedom, the reason a revolutionary war was fought. The picture of the United States taking liberty to defy international law (often of which was written by the USA), in engaging in torture, subterfuge, absence of habeas corpus (no trial) paints a messy picture of the US being a rogue state of which we would easily condemn if it wasn’t ourselves. These books are a very depressing but realistic wake-up call, worth reading if you consider yourself concerned about the USA.

 

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Jul 27

Theodore&Woodrow

 

Theodore and Woodrow, by Andrew Napolitano ★★★★★

This book was read on my iPad using the Kindle interface. I gave the book five stars even though it has it’s problems. The title is a little bit deceptive, in that not much is discussed about Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. My first impression was that this book would provide a history of these two presidents followed by descriptions on the damage they did to the US constitution. Instead, Napolitano organized the book as each chapter revolving around a particular freedom that was lost, spending a few paragraphs showing what Teddy or Woody did to “start the ball rolling”, with explanations of where we are today. Sixteen chapters range from the rise of the state controlling education, regulating us to death, creating racism, issues with labor laws, international politics, etc. etc. are all discussed and shown perhaps not to have started by Teddy or Woody, but to have brought into the mainstream of governmental influence by these two characters.  Napolitano doesn’t blame everything on Teddy and Woody, as  destruction to our constitutional freedoms began soon after the constitution was ratified among the various states. This is a quite educational book to explain how we possibly got into the mess that we’re in, worth reading by anybody interested in politics of the USA.

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