Friday, October 28, 2005

Bits and Pieces

The Bush Bubble Burst

George Bush is in trouble. It looks like the person widely known as "The President's Brain" - Karl Rove - may well be indicted over the leaking of a CIA agents name to the press. We will know later today. Then there is the cafuffle over the appointment of an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, with Bush's favoured nominee withdrawing yesterday so as to stem the bleeding over her nomination. Then there is the continued fall out from the Katrina and Wilma hurricanes, where Bush's patronage appointees at FEMA and Homeland Security were clearly not up to the job.All in all, a bad time for the big guy. Can't say I am surprised.

(Well, got that wrong! While Karl Rove hasn't yet been indicted, Scooter - the Vice President's Chief of Staff has and has done the right thing and resigned. )

Leonardo de Caprio (LdC) and Global Warming

Oprah had LdC on last night to discuss global warming - something "he has been concerned with for a long time". She also showed her continued sense of inferiority when she introduced a Professor from Stanford "he has a big brain!" - really. She showed her ignorance, yet again, of how the world works and her naive approach to most things was at its worst. Her solution is to change the light bulbs in the home to the long lasting, eco-friendly bulbs. You may also want to consider buying a hybrid car ("as long it has room for my five dogs and burberry luggage!"). She is really starting to get on my nerves. If she didn't have interesting guests - like George Cluny today and Michael Jordan earlier this week - I wouldn’t bother watching.


My article on aboriginal issues - see below - which was published on Monday in the Edmonton Journal (a fine newspaper) has so far secured over 100 emails in support of my approach to this issue - which I refer to as Canada's shame. The shame got worse for me this week when it was revealed that over 100 reserves are forced to boil water for any use, since it is contaminated with e-coli. One reserve in northern Ontario is to be relocated, since the contamination is so bad that it is causing disease amongst almost half of the Indian band. It is a national disgrace.


Now that my daughter in law is on board following the wedding, we have been exploring the music of Portugal, especially Fado. This is what the wikipedia has to say about Fado:

Fado is a type of folk music which most likely originated in the 1820s in Portugal.
It is characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the
life of the poor. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade (a
word with no accurate equivalent in English; being a type of longing, it conveys
a complex mixture of sadness, pain, nostalgia, happiness and love), and its
origins are probably from a mixture of African slave rhythms with traditional
music of Portuguese sailors, with Arabic influence. Some theories say it was
derived from Brazilian music styles like Lundum and Modinha.

There are two varieties of Fado: Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon styleis the popular, while the Coimbra's is the refined style; both are seen asethnic music for sophisticated audience. The first great fado singer that isstill known was Maria Severa, living in the first half of the 19th century. Hertype of fado is today called "Lisbon's fado".In the 1920s and 1930s, a series of fado de Coimbra (a highly stylized version born in Coimbra) recordings were very popular.

Guitarists Carlos Paredes and his father Artur Paredes, were the masters and the great pioneers of this genre and the Portuguese guitar. Amália Rodrigues introduced the most well-known variety of fado. After her disappearance, a new wave of performers added stylistic changes andbrought more international popularity to the traditional Portuguese music. Thereare also some successful experiences with fado, namely mixing it with electronic music. Mariza and Mísia brought with them a new look to the traditionalsong, occasionally reviving 19th century fado. While Dulce
mixed it with popular and traditional Portuguese music. Madredeus
and Cristina Branco added with new instruments and themes - all that they kept
from the original Fado is its looks and the concept of "saudade". All varieties
of Fado are sorrowful; although some can also be joyful songs.

As I write this, I am listening to Mariza sing O Silencio da Guitara - lovely, lively and yet sad. Mariza was in Edmonton recently at a sell out concert. She is probably the natural successor to Amalia Rodrigues - a wonderful singer, who died October 6th 1999 at the age of 79.

Can Women Cook ?

Gordon Ramsey, the three star world leading Chef and host of Hell's Kitchen (the US version of which was simply wonderful television - I'll never forget Dewberry or some of Gordon's one to a customer who was complaining "Rght, got it, now go back and play with one or two of those chins of yours"), has suggested that most British women simply can't cook. He's right.

Its actually worse than this. Most people, whatever their gender, can't cook. They don't like to, generally don't know how to and find it easier either to eat out or get a ready meal. In the UK, ready meals of quality are easy to find - Tesco has over 350 choices of such meals.

When Delia Smith, the real domestic godess and owner of Norwich City football club, started a series by explaining where eggs came from and how to cook them - boil, scramble, poach, fry - her fellow chefs went ape. Demeaning, they said. Well no. She did this because extensive researcj suggested that most people had no idea.

I watched Jamie Oliver's shows about school meals in the UK. When he held up various veg and asked the kids to name them, they had no idea. Which means that their parents had no idea either. Tragic.

So, don't shoot the messenger. Start cooking!

1 comment:

Crimson said...

Like your comments on Fado...and your interest...Mariza is indeed a successor to amalia, though with her own very disctinct twist...

I was at her concert in Toronto in September...for a little review and a bit more check out my blog: