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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Spotlight on a Website (4): Spotify

OK, Spotify is not a website as such although it does have a site. According to Wikipedia "Spotify is a proprietary peer-to-peer music streaming service and application software from a Swedish based company. It allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums, with virtually no buffering delay".
At present it is only available in the Scandinavian countries and a few others including Great Britain. It is scheduled to become available in the US during 2011 but probably with no free version.
While writing this I am listening to Muddy Waters in the background. I also have Loudain Wainwright II lined up. I have the free version so get a few 30 second ad breaks every now and then.
You download an application (takes one minute) and it sits on your desktop and you get access to 10 million tracks which are being added to at the rate of 10,000 every day! The only exceptions I have found is no Beatles and no Dylan. In my 'library' I have everything by Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Paul Simon, The Beach Boys, Tom Petty, The Grateful Dead and hundreds of other artists. I also have several thousand classical, folk, jazz and blues tracks but I can search and play any artist I can think of almost instantly.
You could try Spotify but don't know if the link works in all countries.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Quiz Question (15): Quotations from two American novels.

Q 1: From which 20th century novel is this an extract? "Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake."
Q 2: And from which other 20th century novel is this qoutation taken?
"Teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy: 1492. The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them."
I will give the answers in the comments after a few attempts have been made. It's quite difficult, although both the novels are very famous, so please have a guess even if you don't know for sure!

Monday, 21 March 2011

The final Sonny Report.

Mum, Dad and Sonny leaving Great Ormond Street Hospital this afternoon after fifteen weeks! They are all back home now and beginning to rebuild their family life. There's nothing more to say except to express sincere thanks for all the wonderful support from fellow-bloggers!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Painting of the Month (15) March 2011: Bazza

View of Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC, at night 2010 in a sort od Cubist style.
I have imodestly included myself among the other greats of world painting history to show this picture, based on a photograph of a night-time view across English Bay with West Bay, North Vancouver in the distance.
You can see the incompetent photographer's shadow (mine) across the picture. It's a beautiful city in a lovely part of the world.
I had done a regular painting of the view which is not very good (see below) and decided to re-do it in a different style which I prefer. I have been dabbling with watercolours for some years and it's a hobby I greatly enjoy.
The medium of watercolour painting was established by three English artists; JMW Turner, Thomas Girtin and the lesser known Paul Sandby and it has remained a strong Britsih tradition. It is often regarded as the most difficult of mediums because of the problem of 'controlling' the wet paint. The colours are mostly translucent and, in the right hands, can reach a standard of brilliance that is
unique to this style.

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Greenwich Meridian

At the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, south London, there is a metal line set into the floor which marks the 'Prime Meridian', zero degrees longitude. Of course, this imaginary line extends beyond Greenwich and right around the planet but it seems more significant here at the 'Home of Time'.

 It is possible to stand here with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one in the western, as I have done.
The significance of this site dates from 1884, when the Prime Meridian was defined by Sir George Biddell Airy, the seventh Astronomer Royal, as a reference point for astronomical observations and time itself.
This is a fascinating place and the whole of Greenwich is a very poplular tourist destination not only for the old observatory, beautiful Old Royal Navy College and Hospital (laid out by Wren and Hawksmoor in the 17th centuty) but also an interesting Arts and Crafts weekend market. The sad news is that formerly one could straddle the line free of charge but from today (Tuesday March 9th 2011) a charge of £10 is introduced! Perhaps I should have posted this earlier. Sorry.
The Old Royal Observatory (Photo credit:
For the information in this post I am indebted to the interesting website Tired of London, Tired of Life.

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Sonny Report (6)

Lovely news for our family: Sonny had his second MRI scan today and has been told he is now free of any cancer cells!
He has to have one more course of chemotherapy and in two weeks or so he will be able to come home.
This will probably be the penultimate Sonny Report and I would like to thank everyone in the blogosphere for all of your continuous good wishes, kind words and prayers. Believe me - every one of them was very much appreciated.