Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's On Your Playlist?

Back by request is a variation of my guilty pleasure songs. But since I don't feel too guilty about this compliation (not like the 1st one I compiled), I will call this 3rd list a summer playlist. Most of the songs are fairly old. They are on my playlist because they stand the test of time. I can listen to each of the songs over and over again. 

I don't like to link up with YouTube, since uploads come and go, but I'll do it here. So until they disappear, you can click below on the song titles to hear them. The music is in no particular order:

1. St. Teresa (above) by Joan Osborne - Intoxicating beat.  A sympathetic look at a woman who is addicted to drugs and must support her habit anyway she can. I picture her high on a street corner in front of a church when a big statue of St. Teresa catches her eye. She is a human being who has fallen on hard times. "Every stone a story, like a rosary."

2. Crazy - Cee Lo Green - Love the lyrics and sentiment. A bluey-hip hop sound. 

3. Whenever, Whatever - Shakira - Great rhythm, great voice, great body (like you didn't notice).

4. All Along The Watchtower - (Written by Bob Dylan) Performed by Jimi Hendrix - An ancient song, which never gets old. The introduction is classic, and the composition builds and builds.

5. Give In To Me by Michael Jackson - Mega hits like Billie Jean and Thriller get more play, but I like his lesser known songs too. This one features Slash on guitar.

6. Sweet Child Of Mine by Guns & Roses - Speaking of Slash, his opening guitar riff  (and later solo) make this the memorible rock and roll song that it is. Nice lyrics by Axl Rose. Rose isn't a bad singer; however I would give ANYTHING to hear Freddy Mercury sing this; a pure fantasy, since Mercury died in 1991 before the song came out.

7. Rocks by Primal Scream - You have to love a song with brilliant lyrics like "Dealers keep dealin, Thieves keep thievin, ... Aint no use in prayin. That's the way it's staying."  This song came out nearly 20 years ago, but it sounds so current, doesn't it?

8. Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson - Kelly has a terrific voice, so I'm a fan. 

9. Someone I Used To Know by Gotye (with Kimbra) - Sure it was wildly popular all last year. But you know what? I still love it.

10. Get This Party Started by Pink - I always listen to this in summer. Pink is another good singer with a strong voice.

Extra: If that's not enough, play a song by Lana Del Rey - I realize she bombed on SNL. Was it nerves? She's a good musician who writes intelligent, atmospheric, torchy pop. I like her mezzo-soprano voice. Next time she'll have more experience performing LIVE.
Piano           Drums          Guitar
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Great Find, Greek Wine

871 Seventh Avenue (between west 55th & west 56th Streets)
Recently I was invited to a wine tasting held at a lovely Greek restaurant called Molyvos in Manhattan. Not only did I discover three excellent wines, I plan on returning to the restaurant for dinner. This Aegean bar/cafe offers a relaxing, warm atmosphere with toothsome dishes. Those of us at the event were served generous portions of salmon, shrimp and spicy meatballs in red sauce to go with the wine we sampled. The meatballs were tender and juicy, and the tomato sauce, garden-fresh. Tasty!

Regarding the wine, I can't give ratings like those in Wine Spectator (i.e. "93 points unblind") because I'm a wine ignoramus ... and c'mon, that would sound highfalutin ridiculous. But ... I know what I like. So suffice it to say, all three Greek wines are delicious! Even the red wine tastes smooth, not unpleasantly dry or bitter.

People who think they dislike red wine are probably tasting tannins -- organic substances which naturally exist in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes.* There is a higher concentration of tannins in red wine than white wine, because red wine is fermented with its grape skins and seeds. However, red wine has health benefits that white wine lacks, and you can find red wine, which doesn't taste bitter (or high in acidity) like the Wishes Eratines label here. 

The wine is produced by Eklektikon, from the Pieria Eratini vineyards, a region located at the foothills of Mount Olympus. The Greek winery was founded in 2006 by oenologists Pavlos Argyropoulos and Andreas Pontas. The wines to try are:

Wishes Eratines White Dry Wine - Rich with good body.

Wishes Eratines Red Dry Wine - Smooth and fruity, not bitter.

Blink Brut Sparkling Wine - Refreshing, crisp and perfect for summer.

Their website says, "No poem was ever written by a drinker of water." How cute!

Wine connoisseur and author, Jay McInerny, once told me, there is no wrong way to drink wine. Chill the red if you like it that way.  (And I do.)

Trust your palate.

The wines are a great find. Tastings are fun! By the end of the evening, I found myself sitting around with the company's reps, speculating about what "ambrosia" and the "nectar of the Gods" are. Eh??? I've wondered for years. Could they be wine and honey? I don't really know. What do you think they are?

*source: Wine For Dummies

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Watching Game Of Thrones

Broken Crown by Mumford and Sons

I didn't read the medieval fantasy books from which Game Of Thrones is based and wasn't familiar with author George R.R. Martin. It's not my usual genre, but I love the television series. 

There's just enough special effects and fighting to keep it exciting without crossing over into boredom. The show is smartly character driven, and there are lots of characters and story lines to follow. No character's fate is safe. Just like in medieval England and the Holy Roman Empire, prominent ruling families rise and fall, so major characters are killed off.

I like how unflinching and without judgment human nature and behaviors like ambition and sex, as well as, the struggles for power and survival are portrayed. The series is far from dark, but be prepared: Lovers and prostitutes alike walk around naked. Sex can be crude and a matter of duty, lust or violence. Women are slapped across the face by their husbands. Lords chop off the heads of enemies without regret. And, characters are rebuked with names like fat "little piggy," "dwarf," "halfman" and every offensive, four letter word in the English language. But, I'm glad the series rings true to the period. I'd be more upset if it didn't.

All the characters in the drama are trying to fulfill their destiny in a world where life is nasty, brutal, short and ocasionally sweet, as philosphers and poets often remind us.

He needs a love interest who doesn't nearly kill him with arrows. Love isn't supposed to hurt.
The series must be exhausting and a blast to shoot. The actors are so talented ... and proficient with weaponry. (I'd cut off my own head, if I had to fight by swinging a sword. It ain't easy.) Obviously, it's the writing and acting that make a show resonate. With an international cast, you stay glued to the set.

 My favorite characters include: Jon Snow (a good hearted, bastard son of Lord Stark, or so we think? His mother is unknown. He became a favorite character of mine when he was left out of the party during the king's visit. Did he have to live outside the main Stark house too?), Tyrion Lannister (the clever 2nd son and dwarf in a powerful family), Queen Cersei Lannister (she's beautiful and scheming, but not particularly cruel), the "Kingslayer," Jamie Lannister (he's fun, fun, fun!) and Arya Stark (a spitfire and survivior). I miss Ned Stark and am still recovering from the shock of his story line in season 1. Charles Dance is amazing as Tywin Lannister, and Natalia Tena as Osha, a Wildling who cares for the younger Stark boys, is mesmerizing (with her piercing eyes and sultry voice). I love Jason Momoa, but his beard and character, Khal Drogo, SCARE meSeason 3 is the most intense! 

Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow (above photo) must meet at some point, don't you think? They are both developing into leaders and share a few traits - both have a conscience and are being shaped by betrayals and the harsh realities of Medieval-ish life. So they'll understand each other. But, will they be friends or enemies? And are they related?
Catch Games Of Thrones on dvd, if you missed the airing. It's got plenty of humanity and the magic of dragons. I look forward to a planned 4th and 5th season on HBO. There are 5 books and counting. So the show could continue for years. By the way, I think writer, GRRM, is on the same level as William Faulker. Just like Faulker, Martin created an entire world of intertwining plots and characters, with minor characters in some books becoming major characters of other books.

Who do you think will be the last king or queen standing, or rather, sitting on the Iron Throne?

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Father's Day: A Good Man Is Not Hard To Find

Photo by
My Dad, bless his soul, was 100% there for me all through the years. All children need someone reliable watching their backs. I could always count on my father's good judgment and kind heart. We could argue and still be closely connected. There were times when he was very exasperated with me; and there were times when I was ANGRY with him. Many times I knew I was right, and he was soooo wrong, even if later he turned out to be right.

Fathers don't have to be perfect, or agree with you on everything. They just have to be present. 

Sometimes my father was present ... whether he should have been, or not. When I was a child, I took catechism classes to make my First Holy Communion. As a creative project, our teacher asked us to make a model altar -- a table upon which the bread and wine are consecrated. Our family wasn't particularly religious, but Dad decided to help me. He took a small shipping cardboard box and cut out four legs. I knew I had lost control of my project when he retrieved a white, cotton handkerchief from his chest of drawers, ironed it, then proceeded to sew it on the cut out table.

Dad (of Anglo-Norman origins) was not even Catholic like mom and I; however, he was so motivated I didn't have the heart to stop him. I ended up making a chalice, candelabrum and communion plate out of aluminum foil to go on the altar.

Let me tell you, when I brought my altar to class, the other kids' jaws dropped. It was judged the best! Considering the extra help I received, I was sorry to see disappointment on several faces and felt awkward accepting a prize. Dad and I were just trying to get an assignment done, not cheat or win anything. Sometimes there's no stopping an enthusiastic parent. I might have asked for a few ideas to get started, but who knew he'd get so involved, or the level of his skills!?!

No one is perfect, but my Dad was special. The thing that made him special: He was a good man. I hope you had someone special in your childhood too, and if not, that you become a good man to your own children because you don't want to miss out at both ends.  

Fathers deserve treats and a good dinner to say "I love you. Thanks."

Click Rebecca's Soap Deli News to make this. I like her soaps too.

Happy Father's Day! 

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

At The Red Brick Cottage

Photo by JJS
The Red Brick Cottage is a charming gift shop and home decorating store, located in Radciff, Kentucky.  A family business for nearly 30 years, the country store specializes in "colonial" and "primitive" goods, offering custom gift baskets and beautiful, high end home accessories. The shop is 6,000 square feet in size, where you can spend hours browsing.  However if you can't make a trip to Radcliff, you can order items from their website. The selection is vast, practical and lovely, so you may spend hours looking there (i.e online) too. The items -- including furniture, garden tools, kitchenware, candles, bedding and food -- are more than just eye-candy, they fill needs.
Find adorable, unique, merchandise for your home, or wow family and friends with gift baskets filled with floral or edible goodies at very reasonable prices.

All the cute articles in the photos are for sale, except for the cat resting in a bowl. He stays at the store.
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

12 Necklaces For 12 Necklines

Recently I stumbled upon this chart and was fascinated by it. Shows the best necklace for a particular neckline. Useful!

Last summer I bought a strapeless dress and needed a necklace to make it look more polished. Thank goodness, I bought the right "chocker" style of necklace for my dress out of pure dumb luck, since at the time I didn't have the knowledge, or this chart to guide me. Fewff! 

I see how the necklaces complete and add pazazzz to the necklines. Do you agree ... and do you wear necklaces? Amazon has a variety to pursue, and now we will know how to wear them.

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