Archive | June 2015

Beethoven’s 9th Live at Carnegie Hall

The New York Youth Symphony’s Glorious Season Finale

[Delayed by technical difficulties, I neglected to publicize this review once posted.]

Nowhere did Memorial Day weekend shine more vibrant than within the walls of Carnegie Hall, where the New York Youth Symphony performed beautifully the works by three composers at the end, peak, and start of their careers – Beethoven, Rossini, and Molly Joyce.

btvn 2

“It was thrilling to hear live and in person, all those strings and horns driving the piece onward. I was also happily impressed by the clarity and individual personality heard from every reed, brass and flute, throughout the gentler transitional sections, and how the entire ensemble gathered into one awesome host, when the timpani sounded the start of a new leg in the race, and all were off over hill and dale at a fierce gallop. It was a thing wonderful to behold to be heard.”

Read the Full Review

Scotland 1865 – Monday Map

June 8 1865, 150 years ago today, John Grant purchased Glenfarclas in Ballindalloch, Scotland

Monday Map celebrates 150 years of excellence and dedication to craft with this rendering of Scotland created that same fateful year.

Scotland 1865 map

Hearty people of a hearty land

Scotland had entered into the United Kingdom 1707 but retained its identity when a young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert fell in love with it on their first visit in 1842.

By 1865 all things Scottish were extremely popular in London and by 1875 Scotch whisky had replaced cognac as the Englishman’s aperitif of choice.

Glenfarclas remains an independent, family owned business, where the 5th and 6th generation continue an unmatched legacy of quality and tradition.


A Rude Awakening

She looked down and turned my hand this way and that before dropping it. “You’re old.” she said factually.

Swiftly I took hold of her firm, flawless arm, before softening my grip and sliding my hand over her ridiculously smooth shoulder, past the skimpy strap of her dress and behind her slender neck, spreading my fingers up into her long, heavy hair to clutch the back of her head in one sudden motion.

She trembled in response.

“And you’re… not.” I said, before pushing her head toward me.

Slowly inhaling the scent of her face, I pressed my mouth onto hers and kissed her, this way and that, for a very long time, as I shifted my weight onto the cushioned window box where she reclined, settling inside her long, slender arms and impossibly long legs, before pulling the last adhesion of my lips from hers.

“I’ve always wanted to do that.” I said.

She looked down between us and then to the side, as she stirred in peevish reply. “I guess you couldn’t see yourself dating the dizzy Rock chick.”

“You’re not a dizzy Rock chick!” I said, surprised at the sudden display of insecurity.

She looked up and behind me, calling out. “I’m NOT a dizzy Rock chick.” to her flatmate, who I didn’t even know was there. But the tow-headed blonde never turned our way from her sofa seat.

“She doesn’t even know we’re here!” she said. “She’s watching — “[some JLo sort of celeb name I cannot remember, followed with the full name, said in response to my blank look.]

I pretended to know who it is. “I’m old, I don’t use compressed names like. I would be what? Toe Fill? Spoon Full?”

She snorted a short chuckle and looked down between us again. And then raised her eyes into the silent intensity of my own.

After a long, still moment I said, “I never thought I’d stand a chance.”

With a mix of feeling flattered and disturbed by the implications of all that was now happening, she dropped her gaze and squirmed a bit, as I waited for her to look at me again.

Our eyes met. But before she could speak, the shrieking alarm on my iPhone went off and I woke up with a start, and an annoyed cat on either side of me.

Neither were as annoyed as I, however. And crestfallen to be sure.

But at least I got to plant a serious kiss on the mile-wide mouth of one Liv Tyler, circa 2001.

I’ve always wanted to do that.





Normandy, June 1944 – Monday Map

Complete with relief photos and elevation tables, the actual maps from the Normandy Invasion still inspire awe.

Classified as “Bigot,” the highest top secret security level possible, a very few persons even knew of the existence of this and other maps prepared for the assault on Hitler’s Fortress Europe.

Half of Omaha Beach

omaha_beach_east_f_1944_ Normandy2

omaha_beach_east_b_1944 Normandy

Source: Wikipedia

June Gloom and a Full Moon

June has come with gloom under low, unseasonably cool skies over New York City, mirroring the climate in Northwest Europe at the opening of the most monumental June in human history.

The weather was so bad in the spring of 1944 that D-Day was postponed at the last minute, for 24 hours. So the first courageous airborne troops dropped from the sky a few minutes after midnight on June 6, to begin operations prior to the full scale assault that slammed into five beaches, as dawn lit the Normandy coastline west of Caen.

These maps give some indication of the enormity of the invasion, and the amount of detailed planning that went into it.

Some are taken from painstaking copies of original Bigot maps created for the D-Day landings, and available for sale at Alan Godfrey Reproductions.

 The Full Invasion Area


Half of Utah Beach

Utah_Beach_Map_Front_A Normandy

American Navel Operations (Operation Neptune)

D-Day navy map Normandy

British Empire Operations

Normandy Invasion Map

Canadian Assault on Juno Beach

Canadian D Day Landings Normandy

British Main Assault at Sword Beach

Sword Beach Normandy

Detail from Bigot map of Sword Operations (English and Free French Commandos)

ouistreham Normandy map

Detail of British Bigot Map Legends

Map Legend Normandy

Other Reading:

Britannica’s D-Day site was created years ago, so it has some bad links, but it is full of interesting oral histories by veterans, as well as detailed charts and maps, and other information of interest.

U.S. Army official report on the action at and around Omaha Beach, 6 June 1944. This was prepared and provided to veterans at the 50th Anniversary commemoration in 1994, and based closely on the official report by the War Department, 20 September 1945