(Neo-) Classical Sunday: The Harry Potter Series

“I know the movies can’t be the books… because I know what’s coming and it’s impossible to fully dramatise on screen what I’m going to write. But I just ask you to be true to the characters; that’s all I care about.” J.K. Rowling

“The Beautiful Music of the Harry Potter Series”

This is a compilation of themes from the Harry Potter movies that were released over a period of ten years, between 2001 and 2011. Having read the book or having watched the movies is no requirement for enjoying the score; it’s beautiful in and of itself.

Classical Sunday: Leopold Mozart’s Toy Symphony

A light (and short) bit of entertainment for a warm summer Sunday

Leopold Mozart: Toy Symphony

Romanian Youth Orchestra conducted by Cristian Mandeal


Some people say that Joseph Haydn composed the Toy Symphony, others that it was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father Leopold.  Truth be told, I don’t care much who wrote it: It’s a wonderful little piece of music, light and full of joy, one way or another.

So enjoy!

Classical Sunday: Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia

If you are unfamiliar with this delightful opera, just listen to the overture and you will most probably realize that you are, in fact, quite familiar with it after all.

Gioachino Rossini:  Il barbiere di Siviglia

Complete performance of Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” from Seville’s ‘Teatro de la Maestranza’ in February 2016 in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of this well-known and beloved masterpiece.

Conductor: Giuseppe Finzi
Conte Almaviva: Michele Angelini
Figaro: Davide Luciano
Rosina: Marina Comparato
Don Bartolo: Renato Girolami
Don Basilio: Dmitry Ulyanov
Berta: Susana Cordón
Fiorello: David Lagares
Director: José Luis Castro

The featured images shows the storm scene towards the end of ‘The Barber of Seville‘ in Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard’s (1780-1850) lithographic rendering.


Elephant Stew

Leave it to the Amish…

Elephant Stew


  • 1 elephant
  • brown gravy
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 rabbits


Cut elephant into bite-sized pieces.  This will take about 4 months.  Cover with brown gravy and cook over kerosene at 535º F until tender, about 5 months.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  This will serve 3,800 people.  If more are expected, add rabbits.  Do this only if absolutely necessary as most people don’t like to find hare in their stew.

Recipe courtesy of Toby R. Miller

Barbie Adventures: Meet the dos Santos Family

You like Barbies? Then read this!

This is the dos Santos family.  When the above picture was taken, they were at Great Wood National Park, OH.

The dos Santos Family:

Magnus, 24 yrs old:

Magnus is an artist who paints for an art museum, likes dogs, trees, and especially his daughter Vicky.  He does not like mosquitoes at ALL.  Magnus enjoys going on vacations with his family to Ohio or the Amazon River, and also makes board games and reads out loud to Victoria.  When he was a boy, he carved little dogs from wood and played with them when he wasn’t shooting his BB gun, scaring off bunnies.  Magnus owns a short haired chestnut Chihuahua named Tipper .

Antonia (née Azúl), 23 yrs old:

Antonia is a passionate home baker and teacher who likes cooking, pizza, and stuffies (commonly known as stuffed pets).  She hates spoiled pork tenderloins, as you can imagine!  In her spare time, she plays with Victoria, bakes cupcakes, and writes stories.  Strawberry, Antonia’s white long-haired cat, always lies under the kitchen table when the oven is on and tasty smells waft through the house.  When Antonia was little, she had at least 200 dolls which she collected herself.

Their Daughter Victoria Aethelflaed, 3 yrs old:

Victoria, or Vicky for short, likes dolls, bouncy balls, and dogs, but she does not like Neapolitan Mastiffs.  When she grows up, Victoria wants to be a dog breeder!  Her favorite foods are pizza and hamburgers.
Vicky has 2 friends:  Alyssa Neana and Coral Oyster, whom you will meet in a later post.

Antonia’s Mother:

“Whee!” Riding in Hana’s car is fun!

Mrs. Lea (née Calcetín) Azúl, 43 yrs old: 

Mrs. Azúl is a retired jeweler who likes jewelry, of course, old times, and bean soup, and hates Elvis music.  When she was 18, she got her first car and as a result, likes to ride in Hana’s car.  Hana and her sister Kimi are friends of the dos Santos family whom you will hear about in a later post.
As you can imagine, Mrs. Lea loves to play with her granddaughter Vicky.

Antonia’s Sister:

“What a nice spring breeze!”

Rosette Azúl, 18 yrs old:

Rosette is a famous prima ballerina who has danced Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Odette/ Odile in Swan Lake.  She likes classical music – obviously! -, Pom pups, and cheeseburger pizza, but she hates Depreepy music with a hateful hate!  Her lyrics of her most hated song are: “Roast Beef…… And soo on it goes, On and on, On and on!”  She thinks it is CrAzY!  In her spare time she plays the flute with Anty (Antonia) and Mag-Tag (Magnus).  When Rosette was two years old, she rode a motorcycle!

In our next post, we will introduce some of Antonia’s and Magnus’ friends.

Poesie: Burgess’ Purple Cow

Some poets live to regret having written wildly successful poems…

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope so see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.


About two years later, Burgess offered the following in the same journal in which the Purple Cow had first appeared, his “The Lark”:

Ah, yes!, I wrote the ‘Purple Cow” –
I’m Sorry now, I Wrote it!
But I can Tell you, Anyhow,
I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!


~ Gelett Burgess (1866 – 1951)


Perfectly Peculiar Putrid Party Punch

Happy Halloween!

This is a recipe I made.  (Note: This is not edible) It is called the Perfectly Peculiar Putrid Party Punch! Here is the recipe.

pppp ceopped

Perfectly Peculiar Putrid Party Punch


  • Colored slime
  • Water
  • Halloween odds and ends like googly eyes.


  1. Put water and slime in a jar and let sit overnight.  Slime will dissolve and color the water.
  2. Stir in odds and ends.
  3. Put on table for decoration, and decoration only!
  4. Scare your guests!

Juneberry’s Journal: My Arrival

This is the first in a series of new stories about Juneberry and her adventures.

Hello, friends!  My name is Juneberry.  I used to have no name, but that changed.  Let me tell you my story…

It was a dark and stormy night.  The rain poured down on the blacktop as I chewed on my stolen hot dog in the big, broken building.  I did not like living in the city.  Too many people, not enough food.  Thunder rolled and lightning flashed, and the wind howled in my ears.  Wait…. that’s not the wind!  Three dogs ran down the road and scrambled into the house.  One of them approached me.  I wagged my tail and smiled.  It was one of my many, many companions and pack mates.  “How was your dinner?” he asked in a rumbling voice.  He was a Xoloitzcuintli (show-loh-etts-KWEENT-lee) from Mexico.  “I got a hot dog with mustard, ketchup, and relish!” I replied.  His stomach rumbled.  He was a powerfully built dog, with bronze fur and deep brown eyes.  “I got a roast chicken.  It was coated in olive oil,” he told me.  A squeaky voice interrupted us.  It was the Peruvian Hairless dog, who had mottled white and reddish-pink skin and a little bit of hair on his head which reminded me of some humans I’d seen.  “And I got a nice steak.” he said.  The Peruvian Inca Orchid ran over and said, in her soft voice, “I could not find a thing.”  Her skin was dark silvery-gray, and she had not one speck of fur on her body.  “Aussies are always lucky,” the Xolo said with a little grin.  “Well, you got a chicken,” I retorted.  The Inca Orchid laughed in her slow way while the Hairless began to giggle uncontrollably, which sounded like hiccups.  I retreated to a corner where I lay down to sleep, drifting off into a dream about a laughing epidemic.

I woke up at the first light of dawn and resolved to take a journey to find more food.  After walking for hours, and the landscape changed.  Soon I came to a wood, at the other end of which was a yard that I went through, eventually crossing a wide road.  There was a long gravel driveway with a white mobile home at the end of it.  A small stoop let to the front door.  Now, I was hungry and very, very tired, so I dragged myself up the steps and pawed on the door.  The door unlocked and was opened by a little girl aged nine or so with a smiling face sprinkled with freckles, bright blue eyes, and brown hair tied back in a ponytail.  I did my biggest puppy eyes at her.  “Aww!  It’s so cute!” she cried.  “What is?” came a voice from the house.  “This!” she cried.  I heard the sound of running feet and paws.  The door was opened wide, and there stood a man, a woman, and two more girls as well as a white German Shepherd and another Aussie.  “Howwwwl!” cried the Aussie, and the brown-haired girl said, “Shh, Funsky Nub!”  I raced in and jumped on the tall blond girl and began licking her face.  She spluttered when I licked her.  I did the same to everyone else.  Suddenly, I heard a muffled voice “What in the name of The Food Lady’s Supreme Dog Food is going on here?”  I jumped into a narrow hallway and the door closed.  An old black Labrador Retriever with cloudy brown eyes stood behind the door.  “Hi!” she said, and I was suddenly surrounded by wagging tales and curious noses.  “I’m Freki,” the Shepherd said.  “I’m Daisy,” said the Lab.  “And I’m Gimli,” said the little Aussie.  “Pleased to meet you,” I replied, and held out my paw.  They each shook it in turn.  Suddenly, I heard the voices of the five people.  “Can we keep it, Mama?” asked the little darker brown haired one.  “Yes, I am sure we should keep it,” the lady replied.  I ran over to them.  The girls introduced themselves to me.  The tall, blond one said, “Hi, little one! I’m Abigail.”  I licked her hand.  The brown-haired one said, “I’m called Rebekah.”  I nuzzled her leg.  “And I’m Sarah,” said the little, darker- brown-haired one.  I jumped up and licked her ear.  These people were great!  Then they went to the living room where they sat down.  “I propose we name her Juneberry!” said Rebekah.  “How do we know it’s a girl?” asked Abigail.  “She looks like a girl,” said Rebekah.  I licked her face.  “See, she knows I’m right!” Rebekah beamed.  “Well, she needs a bath, brushing, and then dinner,” said Mama.

First came bath.  Mama put me into the tub which was filled with hot water and soap, and covered me in shampoo.  It was glorious to be so clean!  Next, the girls brushed me, which was quite the effort since my coat was very knotted.  And finally came dinner.  Mama brought out a big pot and ladle, and the others went wild.  Gimli jumped up and barked and ran around like crazy and the others whined.  “What’s wrong with him?” I whispered to Freki.  “He’s a spaz,” he whispered back.  A “spaz” appears to be a very nervous wreck.  Dinner was chicken soup with rice and some sort of leftovers in it also.  It was gone in two seconds flat.  Then the people had dinner, which smelled really good, and we even got a bit of cheese!  I think it was mild cheddar, judging from the taste.  Then the girls played with me, and the Daddy also.  Finally, after a long day of play, I was ready for bed.  I lay around a bit until the girls lay down, and then I fell asleep on top of their sheets.

The next day dawned bright and cold, and they took us for a walk.  But I thought about all my poor friends back in the city, especially those hairless ones.  So I broke my leash and ran back to the city.  I yelled at the top of my lungs.  “Hey!  Xotol!  Hairless!  Orchid!  Come here!”  They came to me.  “There is a house in the country with three nice girls, lots of food, and three other dogs!  Plus, their yard is HUGE!” I yelled, though it was not really necessary.  “Lets go!” they cried in chorus.  We ran back, and I sat on the stoop and barked.  The door was flung open, and there they stood again.  “THREE MORE?” cried Abigail.  Xotol apparently liked Rebekah since he ran up and licked her.  Orchid jumped in and licked Abigail’s face.  Hairless yipped and nuzzled Sarah.  “We can have three more dogs,” said Mama.  They repeated yesterday’s process with my three pals, as well as naming them.  “The Xoloitzcuintli will be called Ginger!” cried Rebekah, who hugged him.  “Squeaky!” said Sarah, and Hairless licked her.  “She’s a Peruvian Inca Orchid, so I’ll call her Orchid,” said Abigail.

The next day I could not find the other three until noon, when a chorus of howling sounded.  There stood the whole pack, more than 350 dogs.  As Rebekah stepped out, a tiny brown and white Chihuahua boy jumped into her arms.  A red and white Papillon barked at Sarah, and twin Huskies ran to Abigail.  A bath fest and naming ceremony commenced, and all the dogs’ names were written down along with information about them.  The Chihuahua was christened Tippy, the Papillon Butterfly, and the twins Snowy (the boy) and Crystal (the girl).  That night, the dogs slept all over the house, and some on the beds.  It was a peaceful night, surprisingly enough, for we all slept soundly.

Classical Sunday: Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals

Let’s have some fun!

Camille Saint-Saëns:  The Carnival of the Animals (1886)

From the beginning, Saint-Saëns regarded The Carnival of the Animals as a piece of fun.  The work was written for private performance by an ad hoc ensemble of two pianos and other instruments, and is considered a humorous musical suite of fourteen movements.

The Carnival of the Animals

I “Introduction et marche royale du lion” (Introduction and Royal March of the Lion)
II “Poules et coqs” (Hens and Roosters)
III “Hémiones (animaux véloces)” (Wild Donkeys Swift Animals)
IV “Tortues” (Tortoises)
V “L’Éléphant” (The Elephant)
VI “Kangourous”
VII “Aquarium”
VIII “Personnages à longues oreilles” (Characters with Long Ears)
IX “Le Coucou au fond des bois” (The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods)
X “Volière” (Aviary)
XI “Pianistes” (Pianists)
XII “Fossiles” (Fossils)
XIII “Le cygne” (The Swan)
XIV Final (Finale)

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