Saturday, 13 April 2019

Not Four Guys, or Six Guys but somewhere in between.

The people of the United States are besotted with their Burgers. 

What used to be an occasional treat, or a welcome summer barbecue item, has now become an essential part of daily eating.

Note the proliferation of fast food burger joints -  not just the now old fashioned McDonalds, Wendy's and Burger King, but now (in our area) Culvers, Smash Burger, and the one which is not "Four Guys or Six Guys but somewhere in between". 

This massive consumption of beef is not good for the human digestive system.  It is bad for the environment (razing ancient forests to become Cattle Ranches etc).

The other day I went with my good friend A. to have lunch at the one which is not "Four Guys or Six Guys but somewhere in between".

 I ordered a BLT.  It was horrible, consisting of a lot of bacon, not much lettuce or tomato,  served in a cold and poor quality Hamburger Bun.  Maybe I was foolish to order a BLT in a Hamburger joint.  But at the least, I had expected a classic BLT:

No such luck at the fast food joint which is not "Four Guys or Six Guys but somewhere in between". My BLT was horrid.

My friend and I each ordered "fries" which were served unceremoniously at the bottom of a brown paper bag.  

Fries? Too many Fries.  Both of us had enough to feed three people.  We could not eat them all. What a waste.

We both ordered a drink. She had Coca-Cola, I had Lemonade. Our beverages were served in a one use plastic beaker, with a one use plastic straw.  What a waste.

I so much enjoyed the company of my good friend A. 

Her company aside    I have felt unhealthy bloated for 24 hours.

  Maybe I should move t'wards a vegetarian  diet.


If you are a regular at "Not Four Guys or Six Guys but somewhere in between" please encourage them to offer fries in three sizes: e.g.
small, medium and large,  and to abandon the single use of plastic beakers and straws.

Friday, 12 April 2019


With thanks to the friend who first posted this on Face Book

Thursday, 11 April 2019

A night out on the Town

I could have been here. 6:00 p.m. Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs (truly) at Arlington Park.

Instead I went here -  the Restaurant at Marina Jack.

An early celebration of my 75th birthday  (very early it's not for a couple of months); 
and a fond au revoir to friends who are moving from Sarasota.
Cindy and Wes Wasdyke who will be moving to Chapel Hill, N.C.

Ann Albritton who will be moving to Thomasville GA

Ted and Judy Copland who will be moving to a new home, but will be staying in SRQ

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

The Cellist and the Dogs and Cats

Natalie Helm the Principal Cellist with the Sarasota Orchestra (and my neighbour) also plays her cello for animals at the Humane Society of Sarasota County shelter.

Zion did not live there when the following photo's and video were posted, but he would have liked it!

Truly the Cello is an instrument with a wonderfully rich "voice" (together with the French Horn).


There is also an amateur  video of  Natalie at the Shelter.

Click on the blurry picture at the top of this link to view it

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

And then there is Natalie.

This is a follow up to my earlier post about Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the visit of my friend Kadi Kool


I remembered  that Natalie Helm (Principal Cellist for the Sarasota Symphony) is a neighbour.

I took a chance and stopped by the home she shares with her boyfriend and manager,  to thank her for Sunday's Concert.  She was "tickled pink"!

I am still on Cloud Nine with the joy of the Beethoven Nine!

It doesn't get any better than this......

..... or "that was the weekend that was"  (actually Saturday to Monday).

The occasion was a visit from my dear friend Kadi Kool who lives now in Raleigh N.C. , but is a friend from my St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, MA days  (1986-2000).  There I knew Kadi, her wonderful mother the late Juta Kool, and her father Boris.

Juta was  Estonians who fled that country by foot when the Red Army advanced on Estonia at the end of WWII.  She got to what were then called "Displaced Persons Camps" and in due course was admitted to the U.S.A.  Kadi loves and respects her Estonian heritage, and is fluent in the language.

I (with an Estonian Lutheran Pastor) officiated at Kadi's marriage to Jorge Vasquez (from Peru). 

So Kadi and I go back a long way.  Over the years we had lost contact, but we re-connected about six years ago. During those years I have twice been in the Raleigh/Durham area.  Each time I went to Church with Kadi and enjoyed her company at lunch, as well as meeting her grown sons Kristofer and Mikael (who hardly knew me) and her (now former) husband Jorge.


The Sarasota Orchestra has been enriched for six years under the baton of the fabulous Estonian conductor Anu Tali.  When I learned that she would be leaving us I contacted Kadi, and said "you must come down to Sarasota for Anu Tali's final concert".

Come down from Raleigh  Kadi did!

I met her on Saturday at SRQ airport.  I gave her a whistle stop tour  of New College and the Ringling Complex; and then of some of Sarasota's neighbourhoods: Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores,  Newtown, Laurel Park, and  the South Osprey/Hillview area where we had coffee at  PERQ.

Then we walked (with Zion in tow) at Arlington Park.

On Saturday evening we dined out with my friends Muriel and Donna.   (Muriel and I  respected our English heritage by having Liver, Bacon, and  Onions.  YUM)

Sunday saw us at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota  (exquisite liturgy and fine preaching). After Church we had breakfast at one of Sarasota's finest breakfast and lunch eateries: The Oasis on South Osprey (fresh ingredients, everything cooked from scratch).

      Then came the highlight,  Anu Tali's last concert.

She came to the stage to be greeted by rapturous applause by the audience, (with many a wet eye).

Ms. Tali got down to business and led the orchestra and chorus in a rendition of Arnold Schoenberg's "Peace on Earth".

This was a bit like having a new and unfamiliar hors d'oeuvre: interesting in its own way, but unlikely to become a favourite.  We were there for the main course Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

What can I say?   It was a Tour De Force.

My eyes misted at the beautiful beginning of the Third Movement.

Then came the Fourth Movement -  Beethoven on Steroids!

More than adequate soloists, superb chorus (with singers from the Choral Artists of Sarasota and the Key Chorale), and an extra-ordinarily good Orchestra giving the music their all for Anu Tali and for us.

(In years to come many will ask  "were you there for Anu Tali's last Concert!").  Kadi and I were!  I rejoiced in her company and was overjoyed to see her deep pride in her Estonian heritage.

Kadi's wonderful visit ended on Monday, but not before she and I had walked with Zion at Bayfront Park.

Oh Such Joy.

Here are some photo's (in random order)

Anu Tali

Before the Concert

Dinner with Muriel

Dinner with Donna

Bayfront Park  (we should have removed our hats)

Church of the Redeemer
Oasis Cafe  (to be recommended)

New friends

Liver, Bacon and Onions.