Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.

O&P's Current Pick:

Forging the Sampo

Odious' Links:

The Little Bookroom
The Pumpkin King
Larissa Archer
Inverted Iambs
Eve Tushnet
Pamela Dean
Kambodia Hotel
Pen and Paper

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary
Deep-Sea News
NASA's Mars Website
Classics Online
Perseus Digital Library

Nine Scorpions
The Blithe Kitchen
Letter from Hardscrabble Creek
Arts & Letters Daily
About Last Night



Chas Clifton's Nature Blog
Rock Art Photo Blog
Girl on a Whaleship
Nature Lyrics Languagehat
Jabal al-Lughat
Laputan Logic
Strange Maps
Vladimir Dinets: Polymath Russian Adventurer
Virtual Tour of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aerial Landscape Photography
USGS Earth As Art
Panoramic Aerial Maps of the American West

The Internet Bird Collection
Bird Families of the World
Ancient Scripts
The Aberdeen Bestiary Project
The Cephalopod Page
The Ultimate Ungulate
The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
USGS Streamflow Data

Worthy Miscellany
Finno-Ugrian Music
Boojum Expeditions
American River Touring Association

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Outdoors: A situation very reminescent of Into the Wild resolves unhappily in Colorado. So many people view these situations asking, "Was he an uncompromising idealist or was he mentally ill?" as if it were an either/or question. I have a fair store of sympathy for these folks, and mental illness does not mean that they're idiots, devoid of self-awareness or free will. But these stories are very sad however you look at them.

Food: Michael Pollan is still worth reading, and you can read a lot of him here, on the paradoxical popularity of cooking shows and unpopularity of actual cooking.

Opera: La Traviata was excellent, hardly a surprise. Natalie Dessay is every bit as good as one could hope, and I also quited liked her husband Laurent Naouri's performance as Germont, a roll which can easily drag. Staging and costuming were interesting and creative without being at all extravagent or distracting. We may see if we can find standing room tickets for another round.

But I'm really looking forward to The Letter this Friday. Librettist Terry Teachout's latest take:

...the pressure is off. It seems clear--gratifyingly, gloriously clear--that
Paul and I have succeeded in writing a modern opera that goes over with
audiences in a big way, which is what we set out to do. From here on, I'm going
to sit back and enjoy myself.

Me too. That one sentence feat in the preceeding paragraph is no small achievement, not by a long shot. Everything I've heard about the piece sounds wonderful, and I can't wait. Here is more on how it feels to create a good opera.

Photography: I've emoted to this effect before, but I do love living somewhere when 24 hours after watching Natalie Dessay as Violetta, I can spend the night here, in the Chama River headwaters (Mrs. Peculiar providing scale):

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Seattle Opera is performing the Ring Cycle this summer (the hubby and I are going) - but I would love to see La Traviata with Natalie D. There is a production this season, but she will not be gracing us with her presence.

Miss NM - lovely pic :)
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