No More Original Sound

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One of my favorite movies, so was interested to hear this:

Maria Franziska von Trapp, the last surviving sibling of seven brothers and sisters who were portrayed in the Broadway musical and the film “The Sound of Music,” died on Tuesday at her home in Stowe, Vt. She was 99.

Her death was confirmed by her half-brother, Johannes von Trapp.

She was the third oldest child of seven born to Baron Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe, who died of scarlet fever. The 1965 film was based on the real story of how the baron fell in love with the children’s governess, also named Maria, and the family toured together as a choir.

Ms. von Trapp was the reason the governess came to work for the family — she needed a tutor at home because she also had scarlet fever and was too ill to walk to school. After her father married the governess in 1927, they had three children together.

In the film, which starred Julie Andrews as the governess (Mary Martin played the role on Broadway), Ms. von Trapp was named Louisa and was played by Heather Menzies. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the score.

She and her siblings learned to play musical instruments at a young age, Ms. von Trapp wrote in an essay on the family’s website. “Sometimes our house must have sounded like a musical conservatory,” she wrote. “You could hear us practice piano, violin, guitar, cello, clarinet, accordion, and later, recorders.”

The family fled Nazi-occupied Austria and performed across Europe and the United States. They eventually settled in Stowe, where they bought a 660-acre farm that they later turned into a ski lodge.

The film was based on a book published in 1949 by the elder Maria von Trapp, who died in 1987. She had praised the film for truthfully showing her life story.

But the younger Ms. von Trapp told Reuters in 2008 that she and her siblings were shocked that the movie portrayed their father as strict and obsessed with discipline. He was “so completely different,” she said and “always looked after us a lot, especially after our mother died.”

She said on the family website that the movie was a musical and was “never meant to be a documentary about our life.”

Maria Franziska von Trapp was born on Sept. 28, 1914 in Zell am See, Austria. In addition to touring with the family choir, she worked as a lay missionary in Papua New Guinea. She adopted a son, Kikuli Mwanukuzi, after meeting him there. She eventually moved back to Vermont to be close to family.

She is survived by her son and three half-siblings: Mr. von Trapp, Rosmarie Trapp and Eleonore von Trapp Campbell.

In 2008, Ms. von Trapp traveled to Salzburg, Austria, to visit her family’s villa when it opened to the public for the first time as a hotel and museum. The family had lived there for more than a decade until the Nazis confiscated it in 1939.

She told Reuters that returning to the home had been an emotional experience.

“Our whole life is in here, in this house,” she said. “Especially here in the stairwell, where we always used to slide down the railings.”

NY Times, February 23,2014

 

American Gold at Sochi in Ice Dance

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I stayed up to watch this-they were absolutely incredible and mesmerizing!

Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the ice dance gold medal Monday, the first Olympic title in the event for the United States.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, the 2010 champions, took silver. Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov captured bronze.

The Americans, the reigning world champs, scored 116.63 points in the free dance to finish with 195.52, 4.53 ahead of Virtue and Moir.

When the music from “Sheherazade” ended with White on a knee, Davis rested her head on his back in exhausted elation. The two started skating together in 1997 in Michigan, and on the biggest day of their career, they were nearly flawless.

“That in itself justified 17 years of hard work,” White, 26, said.

As they told the story of the Persian king and the woman who enchants him, White was regal in purple velvet, Davis beguiling in a lavender dress with jewels shimmering on her midriff.

They now have one medal of each color after winning bronze in the new team event in Sochi.

excerpts from CBS news

Swiss Wonder in Men’s Tennis

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Having lived in Zurich for three years we are always cheering for the Swiss athletes-always loved Federer. Now I think I am going to be a huge fan of someone who has worked really hard to get where he is now-Stanislas Wawrinka.
“I’m at the top of my career,” Wawrinka said. “Already last year I had the feeling that I was playing better, but I was dealing better the pressure also. I’m more mature. I’m 28 now. I’m on the tour since the last 10 years. Now I feel that it’s my time to play my best tennis.”

Federer sent a text message to Wawrinka on Wednesday. Federer, the winner of 17 Grand Slam singles titles, was among many aware of the potential for an all-Swiss final; aware, too, of all the work Wawrinka put in, of all the doubts endured. Federer congratulated Wawrinka for his run at the tournament.

“For you, it’s normal,” Wawrinka said he responded. “For me, it’s not normal.” This was all before he defeated  Berdych  in the semi-finals.

Wawrinka said he took confidence from his match with Djokovic, who had won their previous 14 meetings. Some of those contests had taken place in Grand Slam tournaments, and some of them had gone five sets, and Djokovic had won all of them. This time, in the fifth set, Djokovic badly mis-hit shots on the last two points. It was Wawrinka who played without fear. That, he said, helped against Berdych.

For years, Wawrinka has remained Switzerland’s second-best player, because its best player is among the best of all time.

 As the first set of the men’s singles final at the Australian Open unfolded Sunday, those who assembled inside Rod Laver Arena watched in disbelief. There were two players and one was dominating and his name was not Rafael Nadal.

Not only was he playing in his first Australian Open final, but in 12 previous matches against Nadal, he had not managed to win even one of 26 combined sets.

Until Sunday. Until Wawrinka’s sublime play and Nadal’s unexpected back issues combined to make Wawrinka the surprise Australian Open champion, a player who won his first Grand Slam in his first Grand Slam final. In victory, Wawrinka became the first player to defeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the same Grand Slam to win it.

(excerpts from various articles in the New York Times)

 

 

 

Addition to Santa Time in Santa Barbara

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 This just came in from one of my readers:
I just saw your blog for today and thought you might like a Montecito follow up. On Sundays, there is a thing called Santa Barbara Cars and Coffee where people drive into town (actually downtown Montecito) in their vintage and/or high end cars. They then get themselves some coffee and admire each others cars. Last weekend was the second annual Chicken Run; the vintage fire truck, all decked out for Christmas, is filled with frozen chickens. The truck leads the way and there is a procession of all the cars to Hope Shoppe where the chickens are then distributed to needy families.

 

Red Sox,World Series and Patriots Lamps!

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If you are a fan there can be no better gift than this! Order a Red Sox, World Series or Patriots lamp now for the holidays from Concord Lamp and Shade. (concordlampandshade.com or 978 369 3000.) The shades all light up and become “night games”.  Good for any age and especially for the guy in your life that has everything….we ship anywhere in the US.

Those Red Sox !!!!

 

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“Winning this World Series is special,” David Ortiz said. “I think it might be the most special out of all the World Series that I have been a part of.”

Ortiz, whose contributions to all three of the Red Sox’ recent championships cannot be overstated, was named the most valuable player of the series. He hit two home runs, knocked in six runs, scored seven more, batted .688 and had a staggering .760 on-base percentage.

The Cardinals finally wised up in Game 6, walking him four times, three times intentionally: it was the only way to prevent him from doing damage. But Ortiz gladly accepted his walks, and he scored twice in the clinching game.

“I’ve been around superstars in this game,” Red Sox catcher David Ross said. “I’ve never been around a superstar who cares more about winning than he does. If he goes 0 for 4 and we win, he’s happy. That says a lot about his character.”

Although Ortiz carried the offense in the first five games of the series, two players with little success of late came through in Game 6 instead. Shane Victorino drove in four runs, with a bases-clearing double in the third inning and a run-scoring single his next time up. That inning, the fourth, began with a home run by Stephen Drew off Michael Wacha. Drew had batted .080 this postseason entering the game.

Wacha, a 22-year-old rookie, had not been beaten in the playoffs and had not even allowed a hit with runners in scoring position. But he was charged with six runs in only three and two-thirds innings Wednesday as the Red Sox finally found a way to hit against him.

“It’s very disappointing,” Wacha said. “Everyone on this club wants that ring. I didn’t want to win it for myself. I wanted to win it for these guys in this clubhouse. They’ve been working their tails off all year. Whenever I have a poor outing like that, it hurts me even worse. I feel like I just let the team down. It’s not a very good feeling, that’s for sure.”

Red Sox starter John Lackey, who missed all of last season after he had Tommy John surgery, scrapped and battled his way through six and two-thirds inning to earn the win. The victory was his second in a World Series clincher. He also won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, for the Anaheim Angels.

Lackey prevented any runs until the seventh inning, which provided the game’s only tense moment.

The Cardinals, trailing by 6-0, scored a run in that inning and then had runners at first and third with two outs with Matt Holliday coming to the plate. Red Sox Manager John Farrell emerged from the dugout, and as he strolled to the mound, Lackey gave him a stern look and appeared to say, “This is my guy,” as well as a few more words hidden by his glove.

Farrell left him in, but Lackey walked Holliday, so Junichi Tazawa was summoned from the bullpen. Tazawa got Allen Craig to ground to first, eliciting a roar from the fans.

Victorino, who had missed the previous two games because of back spasms, gave the Red Sox an early 3-0 lead with his double, pounding his chest just as he did in the Red Sox’ pennant-clinching game against the Detroit Tigers, in which he hit a decisive grand slam.

From there, the Red Sox were simply too good for St. Louis once again.

-NY Times, Thursday October 31,2013

 

 

The Desert-Falcons,Camels and Dune Dragging

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Three forms of recreation that I found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are falcon training, riding camels and dune dragging.

The Bedouin lived for millennia in the desert, a harsh, unforgiving place that required developing every available tool for harvesting its scarce resources. The ultimate hunting weapon in such an austere environment: falcons. Today, even as Abu Dhabi and Dubai have become rich, the old ways persist, and behind almost every camel stable and desert retreat is an aviary of saker falcons. Though hunting is severely restricted in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, (falconers travel to hunt with their birds in places like Syria or Iraq), the birds must be flown and trained daily.

I also learned a lot about camels. A camel’s hump does not store water. It stores fat, lessening heat-trapping insulation around the rest of the body. One reason camels can go long periods without water is the shape of their red blood cells. These are oval and so will flow when they are dehydrated rather than clumping, as ours do. The camel is the only mammal to have oval red blood cells. We were told by our guide that the hump stores the food and the legs store the water-enough for one month!

In terms of the dune dragging, this is something that people love to do and for good reason! You have to let a lot of air out of your tires to do it so the car is more stable in the sand. The danger, of course, is that occasionally you can get stuck (pictured!). After you are finished, you pump your tires back up-everyone keeps the equipment in their car. I also learned that you should always go with at least two cars- so if you get stuck, you can pull each other out!  Of course as these two areas grow, there is less and less desert that is wild and free.