Prague

In 2003 Albany Pro Musica (David Griggs-Janower, conductor) organized a tour with another choral group, the Catskill Community Chorus (Jiri Kratochvil, conductor), to give concerts in central Europe. The premier venues were Smetana Hall in Prague and St Peter's church in Salzburg. My wife and I bought a Pimsleur audiotape and tried to learn a… Continue reading Prague

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Viet Nam Remembered

We have been watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's documentary on the Viet Nam war. It is painful to revisit this horrible story. However, the very first installment taught us a lot about the long history behind western involvement in that country. Fear of communism contaminated the viewpoint of the USA and caused our government to support the French, and… Continue reading Viet Nam Remembered

Singing in Spain

This post is the first of several about a vacation we took ten years ago. The Chamber Singers of the University at Albany, an auditioned à capella chorus directed by David Griggs-Janower, were scheduled to go on a tour of Spain and France in 2007. Not enough students could go, so David recruited a few additional singers and groupies to fill… Continue reading Singing in Spain

Getting Medical Care in France

This post is about our experience with the French health system. We have not stayed in France longer than three weeks at a time, give or take a couple of days. So we cannot talk about long term interaction with the French medical system. Wonderful as it is, being in France does not protect you from colds,… Continue reading Getting Medical Care in France

How We Democrats Can Win

How can we win next time?   I do not need to go over the long list of Trump's transgressions. I take it for granted that he should never have been nominated by the Republicans, and should never have been elected. I recall however, that when Reagan was elected, and GW Bush later, they won despite sticking… Continue reading How We Democrats Can Win

A Rainy Day in Paris

The morning showed streets shiny from an overnight rain. People were wearing jackets or carrying umbrellas. It was 57°F. Our plan was to stay home until it was time to go to the Opera, for which we had a voucher purchased online. It was June 6, the 73rd anniversary of the invasion of Normandy by the… Continue reading A Rainy Day in Paris

I Meet Michel Houellebecq, Learn a Story about Putin and François Hollande, Dine at Florimond, and Do Not Dine at Bustronome

Russian Orthodox Church Paris, Putin

  The book collection in the apartment where we stay has always been of interest. This time I picked up Michel Houllebecq's La Carte et Le Territoire, winner of the 2010 Prix Goncourt. The same author later published a book imagining France as an Islamic state in the future, coincidentally on the day of the… Continue reading I Meet Michel Houellebecq, Learn a Story about Putin and François Hollande, Dine at Florimond, and Do Not Dine at Bustronome

Along the Danube to The Walhalla Memorial

In this post I just want to convey something of what it was like to be on the ship. After leaving Passau, we passed through Vilshofen and caught a glimpse of a crew on the river. Undeniably blue, at least in this picture! Every meal on board was a treat. Here is a dessert for… Continue reading Along the Danube to The Walhalla Memorial

Our Day in Vienna

We chose our Viking tour primarily because it offered a day in Vienna, which we had never visited. We scheduled a full day: a bus tour of the city in the morning, a visit to the Schonbrunn palace in the afternoon, and a concert in the evening. Our guide was a British citizen named Martin… Continue reading Our Day in Vienna

In Search of Tradition

Not far from the Budapest Hilton there is a memorial to Ferenc Kazinczy. On top of a pedestal is depicted a woman holding a tea candle. There is a medallion on the pedestal with Kazincy's profile. The monument was built in 1931, the 100th anniversary of Kazinczy's death. Kazinczy was a translator, epistolarian, and a… Continue reading In Search of Tradition