Sacred Music Friday: Lord of the Dance

A compelling and somewhat different performance of an old favorite.


another familiar voice

I wrote a while back about how we enjoy listening to Michael Burman playing jazz on KCSM-FM on Saturday evenings.

Classical 24 logoI need to give equal time to Sunday evenings. That’s when we listen to the NPR classical service. We love hearing Valerie Kahler who hosts the six to ten time slot, Pacific Time. She is actually in the Twin Cities, so her shift takes her up to midnight central time. But her voice is a soothing presence as we get ready to start the new week, and we very much miss her when she’s away.


Indian-style grilled chicken

This recipe in my database came from Relish magazine in May 2010. Relish is (was?) a magazine focused on recipes and food-related advertising that sometimes arrived with the Sunday paper.

Indian Style Grilled ChickenThe recipe calls for bone-in chicken thighs marinated in yogurt, heavy cream, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder, garam masala, cilantro, salt, and hot sauce.

I used a boneless breast instead of thighs, and I omitted the soy sauce, cilantro, salt, and heavy cream. I used Louisiana hot sauce. I grilled the breasts on the gas grill outside.

I was happy with the result and Terry enjoyed the dish.


pressure cooker Chinese lemon chicken

I was looking for a recipe for a hot Wednesday that would not heat up the house. That generally means grilling outside, crock pot, or pressure cooker. I went with the last of the three. A member of the Yahoo group Pressure Cooker Recipes posted this recipe which looked quite good.

As it turned out it was even hotter than I anticipated. That’s because our air conditioner decided to give out that day. So using the pressure cooker and not heating up the house was a good choice. I omitted the white sugar and did a natural pressure release. The chicken was quite delicious. As you can appreciate I skipped the rice which would have made it even better.

Pressure Cooker Lemon Chicken


a return to comfort

We are cool again.

Our air conditioner died the Wednesday before last. It kept tripping the breaker. The repair man came out on Thursday and said we should get the breaker replaced. Fortunately I was able to get an electrician to come out right away and change the breaker. But the result was no different. Once again I was fortunate in getting the air conditioner people to answer the phone as they were on their way out the door and the service man was scheduled for Friday afternoon. After doing some additional checking he told us, in effect if not literally, “He’s dead, Jim.”

Air ConditionerThe repair man laid out for us a few different ways we could go, from replacing certain components to putting in a whole new unit. We opted for the latter choice. The first open date they had for installation was today.

As you can imagine we have had an uncomfortable twelve days. We spent a lot of time outside in the evening, we did a lot of grilling outside, and we bought a powerful Vornado fan for the bedroom. Somehow we managed.

The installers arrived around 8:15 this morning and left shortly before three. The air conditioner is working and we feel much better.

I have never taken my air conditioning for granted and am grateful to have it back.


thank you, Wesla

Terry and I have loved vocalist Wesla Whitfield and her accompanist husband Mike Greensill for many decades. Wesla is among the best at bringing to life the Great American Songbook.

We have seen them in many venues. The first time we saw them was in the Carriage House at Villa Montalvo, located outside Saratoga, California, in the mid-1990’s. The last time we saw them was at the Empire Plush Room in San Francisco. That was in December 2001, shortly before it closed.

Last week Mike Greensill sent out an email announcing Wesla’s retirement. He tells us:

quoteFor a long time she has had a bad infection that’s growing and won’t go away, and the drugs she has to take to treat that are playing havoc with her voice and throat. She’s just not happy with her ability to sing up to her standards, so she has decided, reluctantly, that it’s time to hang it all up, concentrate on getting better and not have to worry about the energy needed for performing. So she’s asked me to tell you that this is her formal retirement announcement.

I can only say thank you, Wesla, for all you have given us. We love you and we will miss you.

Fortunately we will still have her CDs and her YouTube videos. Here’s one of the latter for you.


my dictionary dilemma

I wrote a while back about having subscribed to the unabridged Merriam-Webster (M-W) dictionary online. It made sense, given the freelance writing work that I am doing. But then the thought occurred to me: have I gone over to the Dark Side?

American Heritage DictionaryI have been an advocate of the American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) for decades. I have long loved its more prescriptive as opposed to descriptive approach (though that is a serious oversimplification). The usage notes with the AHD usage panel can be very helpful. In my B. Dalton Bookseller days in the 1970s and 1980s I was able to singlehandedly skew the sales reports in the stores in which I worked, increasing AHD sales at the expense of the whatever-current-at-the-time edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. I would chortle with delight when I saw those reports.

Even today the AHD sometimes includes details not found in the M-W unabridged. When looking up the word “bake-off” for a piece I was writing both M-W and AHD capitalized the phrase and said that it was a Service Mark. But only AHD added the note that it was sometimes used lower case and gener

Merriam-Webster logo

ically. Similarly, the M-W unabridged does not list “podiatric,” while AHD does list it as an adjective under podiatry.

The problem is that it is not clear to me how much in the way of resources are being put into the AHD these days and whether we’ll see another edition after the current 5th, given that its publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a struggling firm. M-W seems to have effectively made the transition to the digital world and appears to be healthily surviving if not thriving.

Yes, I paid for my subscription to the unabridged M-W and that was the Right Thing to do given the work I am doing. But I can’t shake the feeling that I am cheating on a long-time faithful lover.


pizza on the grill: lessons learned 

grilled pizzaI made a second attempt at pizza on the grill. This time I made my own crust from scratch as we had not been near a Trader Joe’s. My toppings were the same: sausage, mushroom, and olive plus some leftover pancetta. I used the canned Cento pizza sauce. I limited the time on the grill to eight minutes. It turned out great. Very tasty.


it wasn’t when I thought

I discovered Pot Shots when I first arrived in Claremont in the fall of 1971. Maybe I even discovered them when I attended the summer program there in 1970. Pot Shots are post cards containing an aphorism and a line drawing.

A while back GoComics on the web started offering Pot Shots on a daily basis. They started at the beginning in the late 1960s and moved forward one Pot Shot at a time. I tracked my own experience at Pitzer College in the seventies as I saw each entry.

When 1975 rolled around I thought I had pretty much stopped paying attention to Pot Shots. That was my second semester as a senior at Pitzer and I was looking ahead to the next phase of my life. Then this Pot Shot show up on GoComics. Oh yeah. I remember that one. I remember it well. It resonated deeply with me.

Obviously, I was still an active Pot Shots follower in 1975.

I have abandoned my search for the truth and am now looking for a good fantasy


red scalloped potatoes

This recipe has been in my database for a while. It was in the Runner’s World January 2009 issue.

scalloped potatoesIt calls for 6 red potatoes, sliced, whole wheat flour, Gruyère and parmesan cheese, garlic salt, ground pepper, a shallot and fat-free milk. The instructions say to layer the ingredients, add the milk, then bake for 25 minutes at 400° covered and another 20 uncovered. I pretty much followed the recipe except that I omitted the shallot.

It turned out very well. It was a tasty side dish on a Saturday evening.