Here is a repository of the texts of my together with some readings of them.
The essays were broadcast by WXXI 91.5 Classical of Rochester, NY on Salmagundy each Saturday at 9:35am Eastern Time, from the beginning of time (1985) till May 2009 when Entropa (evil Goddess of Change-for-the-Worse-or-Possibly-the-Worst) troubled the minds of the WXXIites and they retired Simon and Salmagundy, and Rochester went into a terminal decline---for ever.
But I do continue on that brilliant bastion of all that's good and kultured, on WCLV's syndicated Weekend Radio on many (mainly NPRish) stations traditionally on the first and third weekends of the month, though your weekendage may vary, (these are archived for a couple of months).
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| Arts | Britain
A Specially Christmassy Christmas SpecialWe are rapidly approaching the time of year when visions of dancing sugar-plums (whatever they are) are driven from children’s heads by more serious concerns of lift, drag, acceleration, weight-to-power ratios, and the physics of Santa and the sleigh and Redolf the Rude Nosed Reindeer1 and all that company.
Sadly I must now disabuse the imaginative little tykes of one of the traditional first principles of their calculations. You see…
|I've just come back from England, where we went to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday.|
|This essay is, I think rather cleverly, named 'Strictly Come Go-Karting'. ... At least I thought I was being clever till I checked with Georgia who put me firmly in my place by informing me that the originally British TV show 'Strictly Come Dancing' is in its U.S. incarnation called 'Dancing with the Stars'.|
Somehow 'Go-Karting with the Stars' just wouldn't work, sounds daft and would leave me feeling decidedly un-clever. So I'm lumbered with the original, now rather foolishly incomprehensible name. And so are you.
|Britons, especially the English, and even especially-er English men, love their tea and their beer. It's the closest they come to having a religion. |
But in America on the other hand we have traditionally, since our very beginning, nay even before our very beginning, had a totally different THING about tea, so that now-a-days all hot tea (or, more accurately, vaguely warmish tea) served in America tastes to this ex-Englishman exactly as though it came straight out of Boston Harbour.
Iced tea here is a bit better, just about drinkable, or rather it would be if they didn't flavour it with raspberries or fish giblets or whatever they do.
So that finally I am pushed, protesting, towards American beer, the only thing is that most American beer tastes as... as if it were pre-owned, probably by a little old lady who just used it for shopping.
Of course in some things the British are just as bad as you, but in their own way: English Cream Tea for example: tea, and scones and jam and thick, thick clotted cream and arteries to match—sort of cardiac arrest on a bun. And, sadly, the Pub, home to countless generations of English men, seems of late to be dwindling, with a terrifying percentage of them closing each year, in the face of unEnglishmanly reality shows on the telly and cheap booze in the supermarket. But even in these days of the apparent death throes of the pub, that's where the Briton shines and where we leave you guys in the dust, and talking of dust...
|I'm sure I don't need to tell you what a Linnæan binomial is, but for the benefit of that ignoramus on the next radio... |
|I was in Half-Price Books the other day... (Oh! and I suppose should explain that Half-Price Books is an excellent chain of secondhand book shops which, if you think about it, is not what you'd expect to find in Texas)... anyway... I was in Half-Price Books the other day, and when I was checking out, the chap behind the counter complimented me on signing my name with the correct hand rather than the right one.|
|I don't know if you are aware of it, but in real life (which is obviously not what I'm doing at the moment) I am a programmer for a large retail chain not unknown to most of you. As a consequence of this I am exposed daily to young women who have connections to the clothing provision trade.|
|The other day I had another of those damned birthday things. I'm not going to admit in public which one, but it set me thinking (even more than the 65 birthdays that preceded it) about the dark forward and abysm of time (as Shagspag probably wishes he'd said in King Lear rather than wasting the thought the wrong way round in The Tempest).|
In especial it set set me thinking, by way of that dreadfully upbeat though slime-ly mawkish Browning poem Rabbi Ben Ezra : you surely know it 'Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be, / The last of life, for which...' de dum de dum de de.
I cannot get any satisfaction.
I cannot obtain any satisfaction.
And I have tried,
and I have striven.
I cannot derive any satisfaction.
The other day, well really quite while ago by the time you hear this, and much to my surprise, someone at work mentioned that yet another round of those Olympic Game thingies was going on in London. They seemed to think that I should be taking an interest since it was being held in the land of my birth, and I didnít have the heart to tell them that A) I had carefully avoided the damn thing by making quite sure that my visit, earlier this year, was most definitely when it wasnít being held, on the grounds of London already being wildly over-crowded even before they shoved a great load of athletes and spectators and what have you into it, and B) that I had, in the time between said avoidily visit and the other-day mentioning, completely forgotten about the damn thing. So I rushed home (well, not immediately, I did wait for my usual knocking-off time) and checked it out on the BBC site so Iíd have something to add to the next Olympic mentioning session at work, if there happened to be one.