Monday, September 24, 2018

The Sound of Music: 4. The Classics - Exhilaration

Of all the classical music in my collection, these are some of my favorites! They are upbeat and festive and spirited! Exhilarating! They are the most uplifting and exciting songs in my classical collection. I love listening to them, because they pick me up and make me smile; fill me with joy and energy; renew my spirit; and make me want to dance.

These are some of my favorite songs ever! And they're the perfect set to end The Sound of Music Classics Collection. This is the last group of amazing Classical music I'm sharing. I hope you enjoyed the series. I'm currently working on the next set for a different genre. But until then, I hope you like the music from this ecstatic set.

As always, let me know if the song clips don't play properly, and I'll fix it. In the meantime, feel free to click on the artist and song title to open the song using your own player or to download it for later listening pleasure. I want to hear your opinions and thoughts about these songs.

On a related note, my friends like to call these songs the Cowboy Collection, because they do sound like rowdy, thrilling cowboy songs with a dash of feisty, Spanish flair. There's a maverick, fierce spirit that radiates from all these songs, and they are inspiring and revitalizing. I hope you enjoy!

Breezy Riding by WHD Koerner

Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man (Version of Symphony No. 3, Fourth Movement)

Fanfare indeed! A rousing call! An anthem for the Olympics! Every major sporting event has played this song to herald champions, because it's so grand and celebratory!

Gioachino Rossini: William Tell Overture

Yes! It is the theme from The Lone Ranger! Absolutely fantastic! Round up the posse! We're chasing down outlaws!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro - Overture

A vibrant and vivid piece!

Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90 “Italian”: I. Allegro vivace

Just a splendid and magnificent masterpiece! Popular at balls and big formal dance events.

Georges Bizet: Carmen Suite #1: Les Toreadors

Everybody loves a parade!

Jacques Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld, Act II: Can-Can

Can! Can! The tune that makes you want to kick up your heels and twirl and dance!

Mikhail Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmila, Overture

An exquisite, sweeping, resplendent piece.

Edvard Grieg: Rigaudon (from Holberg Suite OP. 40)

A dynamic and delightful masterpiece.

Aaron Copland: 4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo: Hoe-Down

One of my favorite pieces ever! I love this song! Aaron Copland is a genius! This is my favorite modern classical masterpiece of all time! It is vivacious, extraordinary, majestic, and euphoric. It really makes me want to hop on a horse and go for a ride to round up some cattle for a long drive up the dusty, wild trails. Or ride a feisty bull in a rodeo. Or grab a partner and party down at the barn hoedown! Just awesome! This song just makes me want to yell, "Yee Ha!", leap up, and dance exuberantly, and I have done so a few times!

I first heard this catchy and zesty tune on the late night a.m. radio back home on the farm when I was a small child. And everytime I hear this song, it has stirred up excitement and an adventurous spirit in me. And since then, I've heard this song in various commercials and tv shows and films.

But one of the most memorable moments I recall hearing this song was during my first ever visit to Las Vegas. We drove up from Arizona, where were spending the Holidays. It was a long drive. But so worth it. We got a place to stay just outside of Las Vegas. It was a last minute, spur of the moment decision to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas. We just had Xmas in Phoenix, and it was the first time we'd seen each other after a few years apart. The Holidays were a chance to reconnect and have an adventure.

We parked the car and took a walk down the crowded, lively strip. I remember being awed by all the amazing architecture and frills and thrills of the dazzling city. So many people from all over came here to party and play. When we stopped in front of the grand Bellagio, we were pleasantly surprised when the fountains started spraying high and put on a spectacular water show to the music of Hoedown!

It was a fantastic welcome to the city. And we had a blast! That great experience led to repeat visits to Las Vegas. And everytime we go, I make an effort to see the dancing Bellagio fountains to enjoy the music and the show.

Hoedown is a magnificent and grand masterpiece. It always makes feel inspired and giddy and puts me into an adventurous, festive mood. I am not a morning person. But if I need to wake up and start moving, this is the song that I play to wake me up and get fired up for the day.

I hope you enjoyed the Exhilarating collection. Let me know what you think or if you have any other songs you'd recommend. I love learning about new music and look forward to discovering new masterpieces and amazing songs. Music is the universal language. It speaks to us all. And I hope you like what music says. Cheers!

Related Links
The Sound of Music 1: The Classics - Ephemeral
The Sound of Music 2: The Classics - Ethereal
The Sound of Music: Classics - The Nutcracker
The Sound of Music: Holidays Classics Vol 1
The Sound of Music: Holidays Classics Vol 2
The Sound of Music 3: The Classics - Ebullient
The Sound of Music: Classics - Swan Lake
The Sound of Music: Classics - Requiem
The Sound of Music: Classics - Opera Part 1
The Sound of Music: Classics - Opera Part 2
The Sound of Music: Classics - Opera Part 3

Thursday, September 20, 2018


I was ambushed Monday when I left my home. They drew blood. I survived that assault and got my revenge. The most annoying thing about heavy rains isn't flooding. In these parts, it's the hordes of mosquitoes that attack people as soon as the heavy rains stop.

Heavy rains leave pools of water that mosquitoes need to lay their fertilized eggs. Female mosquitoes need blood in order to produce their eggs. And my blood is tasty and exquisite, so mosquitoes target me. I could be in a crowd, and I'd be the one most bitten. A lot of times, I'm the only one bitten, by lots of them bloodsuckers! So mosquito repellent is my friend. DEET is my fragrance of choice when the damn mosquitoes are swarming.

On Monday, I had plans to go shopping for supplies. I was closing my door when in the space one minute, eight, yes, 8, mosquitoes bit me from head to toe! I ran to my car, jumped in to escape the swarm. But three mosquitoes followed me into my car and bit me on the neck! My hands were marked with large splotches of my own blood, squirting from the mosquitoes I smashed hard with my hands.

At the store, I bought some mosquito killer spray. I needed to arm myself for war! These aren't regular mosquitoes. These are giant Texas mosquitoes--Huge bodies, causing them to fly slow. But they are tougher than regular mosquitoes.

You smack a Texas mosquito, and chances are, it'll shake it off and continue sucking your blood! And these miserable pests carry debilitating diseases, like West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, Zika, and Malaria. All of which have been detected in the local mosquito population.

Now, when I leave my apartment, I crack the door open slightly and start spraying with mosquito killer bug spray. It's very effective. I coat the top of my door and the walls outside, to kill the mosquitoes still there and to prevent any more from taking hold and gathering to form a mob who'll ravage me when I leave or return home.

It's been three days, and my bottle of bug killer spray is half empty! And the invading colony of mosquitoes that perched above my door have mostly been exterminated, thanks to that bug spray. I hate mosquitoes.

I've been enjoying killing these vicious mosquitoes. I need to buy another can of bug spray. It's been wonderful to see the swarm of mosquitoes die and fall to the ground as soon as the bug spray touches them. Instant mosquito death!

And I'm liking the new wood scent DEET mosquito repellent that I'm trying on to keep the pesky insects away. So far, it works great! Not a single mosquito bite! And this new wood scent mosquito repellent smells a whole lot better than the original, regular mosquito repellent spray. I despise mosquitoes. There's a critter I wouldn't mind seeing go extinct!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Black Panther

I went shopping for some storm and flood essentials--potato chips, cookies, marshmallows for rice krispy treats. When I returned home, I was surprised to see Black Panther chilling on my windowsill. There was a lull in the heavy rainstorms that had poured hard all morning. Now it was a light drizzle. It was the perfect time to snap some quick shots while he was resting. He usually avoids the camera, like a fugitive on the run. Every time I try to take his picture, he walks away, and I'm left with a blurry mess. And it was just as hard trying to take fotos of him this time.

But I got a few, far away shots of the elusive character.

Black panther is a most unique and fascinating cat. First of all, he isn't a stray. He is my upstairs neighbors, the Vet and his wife's pet cat. Though, he was actually born a stray, right under the hood of my car while I was gone for a few weeks! Imagine my surprise when I come home in a taxi and am greeted by my neighbors, telling me about kittens nesting in my car engine!

Well, first thing I did was pop the hood. There, we found three kittens! And they had managed to unplug my headlights connection from the electrical system. Their mother, a stray we were familiar with, was calm as we picked up the kittens.

In the end, the mother, a black tiger stripped cat, and her white kitten with orange and black patches was taken in by the Old Bird, my next door neighbor. And when she passed away, her daughter took the mother cat and the grown patches cat to her home. Her children loved taking care of the pair of cats when they visited their grandmother once a week.

The black and white tuxedo kitten was taken by an upstairs neighbor, a Law Enforcement agent. He had a large white dog that was very friendly. The dog was very protective and comforting to the new kitten. A year later, the neighbor was reassigned to another city south. He moved with his dog and cat and fiance to their new home south.

The black kitten was taken in by the Vet and his wife. He is the most adventurous of the bunch. He likes climbing the big post oak tree in front of the building, chasing squirrels and birds. And unlike other cats, he likes the water! I've seen him enjoy a dip in the kids pool. I suspect he's got some Maine Coon genes in him. While other cats seek dry cover during the rain, he saunters in the drizzle as if it were a comforting experience. And true to form, when I got home, he was perched on my windowsill, just a foot away from the falling rain, perfectly at ease.

Though he is a very well cared for and beloved pet, Black Panther retains a lot of his stray qualities, preferring the outdoors and hanging out with other strays. Ever since he was old enough to be let out to explore, he became a regular fixture on my windowsill and porch. I've had to get another food bowl for him, since he often shows up when I feed the strays. He knows where to get a free meal! I know his owners spoil him and feed him well, but he seems to enjoy coming around my place for mealtime, and it makes me smile to see him join the other cats and play or sleep on my porch. He's a very friendly and curious cat. And I like seeing him relax and rest on my windowsill.

He knows he's welcomed anytime. Gorgeous, isn't he? I'll try to get closeups soon!

Monday, September 10, 2018


I couldn't resist taking some quick fotos of the elusive Shadow Storm. Normally, he only visits at night, when it's too dark to take fotos, and I don't use the flash for fear of scaring him away.

So when he sauntered up for breakfast before I left this morning, I couldn't resist taking some snapshots.

He doesn't seem too impressed and was perhaps a tiny bit annoyed.

But he sat still just long enough for a good shot. Then went back to breakfast, and I left him alone. He looks like some sort of mix between a regular housecat and a Persian. I'm just glad his face isn't too flat to make it hard for him to breathe. He is quite the character with that expressive face. His sidekick Nightwing showed up a few minutes later to join him for some good eats. I let them be and went on my way.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


This is Nightwing, one of the few strays that I feed. He's the youngest of the bunch.

At night, his coat glimmers like black velvet, and his mackerel stripes shimmer as he struts in the starlight. He hisses sometimes, but he approaches eagerly everytime I come home. He knows that I am going to get him fresh, cool, clean water and new, delicious cat food in a washed bowl.

He usually hangs out with Storm Shadow, an older cat. But when I returned from the grocery store in the evening, I was surprised to see Nightwing chilling on my porch. He usually only comes around midnight. Even more surprising, he was chilling out with Black Panther, a young all black cat with green eyes just a few months older than Nightwing.

Black Panther belongs to the Vet and his wife. When they were both in the hospital last week, one of the neighbors watched him. Usually, Black Panther likes to climb the oak tree in front and chase squirrels and birds.

But today, he preferred my porch and the company of Nightwing, which is amazing as they usually get into a hissing and yowling match half the time. The other times, I've seen them play. Today is the first time I've seen them just sleeping on my porch with the sun still up for another hour or so. Most unusual, since they only visit at night. Today was the first time that I've seen them together with the sun still up.

Black Panther is camera shy, as he kept moving out of sight whenever I tried to take his picture. I wonder if he's in some kind of witnesses protection program. Or a Most Wanted Poster somewhere. I gave up trying to take his picture and left him and Nightwing to eat an evening snack.

Storm Shadow isn't camera shy. But he only comes out in the dark night, at least for now. So any pictures of him I try to take come out all shadows and fuzzy. But I'll keep trying take photos of him and Black Panther.

In the meantime, I'm just happy to see my cats eat and drink and enjoy the sanctuary of my porch. I smile everytime I see them.

I hope they live long, happy, healthy lives, and I hope there are other kind people looking out for them.

P.S. Yes, that's soapy water on the floor in the picture. I pour a bucket of soapy water on my porch almost daily, to wash and keep away the ants and other critters attracted to the food I place out for the cats. It works, and my porch is spiffy and clean. As an unintended consequence, any few leftover bits of food, just a few morsels in the bowl, are usually all eaten by large black birds. I don't think they're crows, as they seem to have this iridescent purple plumage that glints in the sun. I'll try to photograph them too sometime.

Update 6 September 2018, Thursday:

Before I left for work this morning, I was surprised to find Nightwing and Storm Shadow waiting on my porch. Most unusual, as they usually only visit at night. But I think the predawn thunderstorm may have made them seek shelter and stay warm and dry on my covered porch. Also, they probably guessed that I would feed them if I saw them. They were right. I washed the bowls and replenished the food and water. I washed the porch before setting down the food and water. They ate contently, and I could only snap a few fotos before heading off to work.

When I got back home this evening, they were waiting for me. So I grabbed the bowls, washed them, and washed the porch. But while I was replenishing the cleaned bowls with food and water, I was surprised to find both cats just inside my place, waiting for me at the entrance. This is the first time that they've ever followed me indoors. Usually, they wait out on the porch. But tonight, they followed me just inside the door. They're getting comfortable with me, trusting me more, and that makes me happy.