Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

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Waltz Wednesdays in Review

A best-of edition, as this Waltz Wednesdays feature has now been lilting around the dance floor for three years running. Time flies, as they say!

Blue Danube was the first, and this is still one of my favorites. The best cinematic use of this piece of music evar!

This is the gold standard

Sweet Baby James is a song James Taylor considers even now, the best song he’s ever written. This is actually a little sad.


Marbles perform Tchaikovsky. The patience that went into creating this is unimaginable, to me.


Mull of Kintyre proves that there is such a thing as bagpipes played well. There’s also a test but we won’t go into that now.


America — we’re still looking for it. It may have gotten away. But back then, there was still a good shot.

Still Looking?

Bonus track

Bonus Track

Indeed, time flies like an arrow. But fruit flies like a banana.


It’s cold today here. We woke to 5F (-15C) and by 3PM it’s all the way up to 12F (-11C).

I’m gonna tell ya: Gert has the right idea.

That’s Amore

Yes it’s cheesy. Yes it’s a cliche. But ignore all that for a minute:

Dude had some serious pipes.

That is all.

Farewell, Betty

I’m plenty old, but Betty White’s TV career had about ten years on me.

Until yesterday, she was the last surviving member of the main casts of two absolute pillars of American comedy: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Golden Girls.

Thank you, Ms. White, for a lifetime of fun and laughter.

An Analogy for Boxing Day

Christmas as we see it on The Hallmark Channel is an amalgam of dozens of different religious and cultural artifacts. From Roman Saturnalia, to Druid and Celtic traditions, to Coca-Cola and Macy’s marketing efforts, the modern Christmas celebration is as heterogeneous and random as the population of a NYC subway car in Midtown at 11:35 on a Tuesday in March.

One thing, though: Christianity has as much role in Christmas as beans have in chili. It’s non-essential, optional and often omitted entirely. It would seldom be missed.

As you may surmise, my Christmas is utterly without religion. Or beans. And I like my Christmas – and my chili – that way.

So here’s my recipe for chili:

Main Ingredients:

 6 lbs ground beef
 2 large onions
 4 28-oz. cans of crushed or diced tomatoes
 1 Jalapeno (hot) or Habanero (really hot) pepper
 1/4 C. corn starch
 1/2 C. lukewarm water

Spice Mixture:
 8 parts Cumin
 3 parts Black Pepper
 3 parts Cayenne Pepper
 3 parts Garlic Powder
 2 parts Oregano
 1 part Allspice
 1 part Ginger

Brown thoroughly and drain the ground beef. Place in a stew-pot. Dice the onions and sauté until translucent. Add to pot. Add the tomatoes. Chop the hot pepper after discarding the seeds & membrane, add to pot.

While stirring, slowly add spice mixture. Simmer on very low heat for at least three hours. Stir occasionally. 

Mix a thin paste from the corn starch and water. Stir this in to thicken up the broth 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serves 12 to 15. Freezes well.
Using teaspoons as the parts for the spice mixture gives a recipe this size a medium bite, maybe a little on the mild side. Vary the quantity to taste; the proportion is what's important.

And here, in case you are wondering, is the reason for the season.

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