Friday, December 6, 2013

Refreshing Christmas Album

Now It Is Christmas Again
with Garrison Keillor

Christmas music wears thin very fast. After the overexposure of the sacred, the sentimental, and the banal coming at you everywhere you go, it is difficult to find something that is always fresh, and sufficiently different that you look forward to hearing it every year.
Such music is possible with Garrison Keillor's Christmas album - Now It Is Christmas Again. No, it will not replace all your favorites, but it will add a distinct flavor to your play list with Keillor's patented brand of gentle humor, his genuinely nice music, and his ability to draw upon the nostalgia that hides within each of us.

It is not a new album, but is still available from various sources such as Amazon and Ebay. You would have not trouble finding it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Is There Music After Puretracks? YES!

Music Downloads After PuretracksAs a long time user of Puretracks for my music downloading, it was dismaying to try to log in recently only to find it seemed to have disappeared. I kept trying for several days hoping that it was only a website problem, perhaps updating the site. This apparently was not the case, and it is truly gone.
I was comfortable with their programme, the music was clean and downloading was not a problem. No worries about viruses, or other evils that may lurk in music sharing sites.
The problem to be solved was – where do I get music now?
After checking a site that evaluates various download sites, I settled on MP3 Million.
I had been paying anywhere from .89cents to $1.39 per track, and as much as $12.00 for an album from Puretracks. MP3Million is straight $0.10 per track. And, if you buy the complete album it is still $0.10 a track, but generally also has a 20% discount. For example, and album with 10 tracks would be $1.00 less 20% - complete album for $0.80! And, with the album comes the cover art.
MP3million is extremely user friendly in every way – from a very simple sign up, to track or album selection, to buying and downloading.
You need to deposit a minimum of $15.00 to open your account. For this deposit you get 2 free tracks. In essence that means you have $15.20 in your account – that is 152 tracks for you.
Once the deposit is made you simply pick the music you want, hit “buy” and then download. No checkout process.
Despite my initial sadness at the closing of Puretracks, I now find I am very happy it did. Otherwise, being a creature of habit, I would have continued paying more than ten times too much.
Go to

Thursday, September 5, 2013

PRISONER OF WAR CAMP #30 Bowmanville

Dad was a guard at Camp # 30
My father was a veteran of both world wars, having served in the Royal navy in WW1, and also as a member of the Home Guard in Canada in WW11. His duty in WW11 was as a guard in the Prisoners of War Camps, both in Nipigon and Bowmanville. He also escorted prisoners of war from Halifax to the various camps, and was the bass drummer for the regiment’s band.
During his time in Bowmanville, Camp 30, he was given 4 gifts from prisoners. Whether they were from the same prisoner or from 4 different prisoners I am not sure.
The gifts were
1. A carved wooden pencil box that was a replica of the ship he sailed and was torpedoed on during WW1 – the HMS Louvain (see a separate blog on this )
2. A hand carved marionette/puppet Santa Claus
3. A painting of a scene from the home area of one of the prisoners
4. a painting of Camp 30.
As a child at that time, I remember playing with the marionette and the pencil box. Sadly, only the one painting is to be found today – the home scene. What happened to the other painting and the ship and Santa Claus I cannot say.
The painting is a water colour and signed by the artist.
The signature is relatively clear, and it appears to be C Koeppe, POW 44.
An article in the Toronto Star, dated September 5, 2013 is titled “Fight Is On To Save Historic POW Camp”, stating that Camp 30 is declared by Heritage Canada as one of the top 10 most endangered historic sites in the country.
The two pictures are
A. The painting described above
B.Dad in Nipigon in 1943. The prisoners in this camp were cutting wood.
Note that the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them, then clicking again for very large.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Notable Books Of 2012

You Might Like To Try These Books
133 Books borrowed from the library in 2012, and while most were enjoyable reads, there were only 11 that really hit me as exceptional. I suppose my criteria for selection is vague – the book just has to strike me as one that stays with me long after reading, and that I would recommend to others.
I should also point out that these are books I read in 2012, but they were not necessarily published in that year.
1. Bill Bryson At Home – a typical Bryson book – non fiction, well written, well researched, easy and enjoyable reading, and one where every page reveals a nugget of information that is both fascinating and new, and you want to tell someone about.
2. S.C. Gwynne Empire Of The Summer Moon – a fascinating non fiction read detailing the final years of the powerful Commanche nation, as well as the true story of pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.
3. Mary Doria Russell Doc– a fictionalized account of the life and death of Doc Holliday. Not one of those glamorized shootemups, this book gives real depth to the characters and the times.
4. Sylvia Tyson Joyners Dream – The story uses a secret journal between 1788 and 2006 following the lives lived and the music played by the fiddlers of the family. A fascinating tale of multi generations, using the language of each age, and a cast of believable and roguish characters. Who knew Sylvia was more than a pretty singer?
5. Dave Barry/Alan Zweibel Lunatics – Just plain hilarious escapism – a quick amusing and satisfying read.
6. Elmer Kelton Lone Star Rising - A Trilogy about the beginnings of the Texas Rangers –same era as #2 above (Empire of the Summer Moon)
7. Eowyn Ivey Snow Child - A whimsical magical tale with wonderful detail of homesteading life in 1920’s Alaska
8. Barbara Wood The Blessing Stone – using a story about a unique stone, the reader gets glimpses into the lives and customs of various ages and cultures.
9. Sybil C. Lynde Stirling – To A House In Whitby – a beautifully written true account of the Lynde family (and associated families) as they make their way from the US to upper Canada. Very informative about York (Toronto) and what is now Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, etc. I should tell you that to my knowledge this book is not available in the library - it was loaned to me by the author.
10. Peter May – The Black House – a murder mystery in the Outer Hebrides, but it would still be a wonderful read even without the murder angle, just for the insight into the island culture, and the story of one person as both child and man.
11. Louise Erdrich – The Round House – His mother’s violent rape changes life for a 13 year old indian boy on a reservation. Despite the circumstances this is still in many ways a delightful story and worth the read.