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Archive for January 15th, 2007

Gourmet Sleuth

Monday, January 15th, 2007

I needed to know the ingredients of a food. I searched. I found gourmet sleuth. There is an alphabetical list of foods/ingredients and substitutions (just click on the B for bulgur wheat, for example, then scroll down alphabetically through the list at left, for the information to show up on the right). Really helpful stuff.

They are a commercial site, and I can not even find the link to the substitution list from the main page. However, I’m tempted to dive in. I have been looking to buy a tortilla press but the ones I could find did not have good photos or descriptions, and I could not tell what I was buying. This site has 73 items tagged as Mexican Cooking Tools. They have Mexican spices, too, but that is in another category. In fact they have all sorts of ethnic foods, broken down by region. It looks good to me, I eat a lot of food not from my own ethnic background(s).

I’ve not done business with them before but have had much luck buying online in general. I may give this a try. Meantime, check out the food list, it’s really great.

Quotes from Renoir

Monday, January 15th, 2007

More from Robert Genn, this time quotations from Pierre-Auguste Renoir:

If a painting is not a pleasure to me I will certainly not do it…

It must be difficult with the violin, just as it is in painting, to find the right tone straight off.

Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.

I particularly resonate with this last phrase… with our singing, we intentionally choose songs with sweet, uplifting or silly lyrics. It’s a conscious choice we make.

There are sad and moody songs… there are bawdy/naughty songs, there are many moods in music. We have friends who specialize in their own favorite niches within the larger picture.

For us, we are in love, we know that everyone can relate at least on some level to that (even if not currently in the experience), and celebrating our happiness where we can share the good feelings is just a good thing.

Sunday, when I should have been home in bed, I went out briefly to the Elderly Instruments holiday party (they hold it after the holidays, it makes things more enjoyable for retail-related employees to hold off that one thing until things slow down). A woman came up to me and said she had just been listening to our music that day. It makes her feel good, and she wanted to thank me.

Well, that is why we (The Fabulous Heftones) do what we do. There are SO many songs in history to choose from. We do not write our own material, we sort of harvest goodies from the past.

We are sort of in a niche of a niche of a niche. We do music originally written for Ukulele. We choose a genre which is generally from the 1920’s in the USA, which is called Tin Pan Alley. And inside the Tin Pan Alley category, we play songs which are either romantic, uplifting, or silly.

And why not? Music is one artform. And as Renoir said: “Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.

Quotes from Monet

Monday, January 15th, 2007

I get the Robert Genn newsletter for artists in my email twice a week. I typically do not read them right away. When I have leisure (not often enough) such as my current recuperation, I work my way through them one by one.

Right now I’m reading the post of December 15. It talks about Claude Monet, who was a true artist in all ways, having only ever wanted to be an artist since childhood. His works are often reproduced but until you see them in person you just can not imagine the depth and use of color.

I did not like his work very deeply until I saw a collection of his works in Chicago about 1989-90 or so. Since then I have really paid attention. He understood light and color (although typically much more pale colors than I prefer, which is maybe why I never paid him much attention). Very deeply, it was a life’s journey for him.

Anyway, Mr. Genn gives some quotes from Monet and I’ve pulled out two bits for you. They were not presented to me this close together, they are two separate quotes.

I would love to paint the way a bird sings.

What can be said about a man who is interested in nothing but his painting? But I can’t do anything else. I have only one interest.

That second one reminds me of something Martha Graham said. Something to the effect of if you had to ask her if you should become a dancer then the answer would be no. For her, being a dancer was the only choice, it was impossible to be anything else. It chose her.

Ms. Graham was sometimes impossible to get along with, but she changed dance history in a huge way, in one (very long) lifetime. There are body positions called something like Graham First Position, etc. What a fascinating woman. Maybe in another post I’ll pull out some of the quotes I have from her.