Tag Archives: reviews

Randy’s Reviews: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

Randy’s Reviews: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution (Randyjw; August 26, 2018)


The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

David Lefer. Penguin/Sentinel, $29.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-59523-069-0
In the course of learning about my people’s, the Jewish people’s, history, I have often heard countless retellings of the stories of famous Jewish people who have contributed throughout the course of history toward the financial gains of their host countries’ continuance. This has often come in the form of providing their own families’ personal wealth in the form of currency toward the war chests of the countries in which they lived. I have heard that the Columbus voyage in discovery of the New World had been financially helped with Jewish funding; and another is the financing of the American Revolution by Haim Solomon, who helped U.S. Treasurer, Robert Morris, refill the American coffers to continue their defense against the British Redcoats, and to win the war for the American side. This salient fact is missing from the above book, which is one reason to question the revisionist manner in which the American story is retold.
Read about Haim Solomon, here, on Wikipedia:
I was going to give this book an excellent rating for its in-depth research into the machinations behind the men who cobbled together the form of democracy our United States would follow in the years just preceding the colonial uprising against the Stamp Act, resulting in the Boston Tea Party, where cases of imported tea from Great Britain were charged by King George III to be assessed against the thirteen American colonies, eventually resulting in the American Revolution against the British. I detract some of its points for the author having excluded the important, and well-known, contribution made by Haim Solomon to the American cause, overall, and for his blind-eyed focus solely on the known signers (for the most part) of the Declaration of Independence, with their internal debates of the issue of whether to remain a subject colony under British rule of the Monarchy, or whether to break off and become an independent nation.
Read about The Stamp Act, here, on Wikipedia:
It never seems that independence was exactly a foremost thought in the minds of our Founding Fathers – – at least, according to what author David Lefer writes, through his unearthing of the signatories’ diaries, and other records, such as letters found in archival libraries and collections he uses to piece together this interesting and fascinating account of the steps and, almost, missteps, the colonial Congressional Representatives and influence holders take in the construction of our seemingly much-different nation during its formative infancy.
The matter of taxation being imposed on the colonies from afar without the feeling of consideration that they were being properly represented, was probably the main impetus for the cause of the American Revolution against the British. Yet, there were those on the other side of the aisle who felt that America should continue to be ruled by the aristocratic and landed gentry, as they were the ruling classes in a still-feudal and Monarchical society in Britain, holding the land titles and much of the commercial plantations of serfs, which represented the bulk of the capital, at that time.
This book reads like a present-day thriller, of sorts, as equal pressure and equal measures are brought to bear by both sides of the American controversy, to the status, hanging in the balance, of the American future. Already secure in our knowledge of the outcome, we still read how very different the nation proceeded from the start, as compared to its final outcome which we experience now today. It is interesting to learn how this occurred, and what thoughts may have transpired in the minds of the framers of the Constitution by which our nation has successfully managed its founding and consolidation, amongst the diversity of thought, these many centuries later.
For this reason, I recommend the book as a learning opportunity and to enrich our minds in the process of how America was formed and the issues which informed that decision.

Comments Off on Randy’s Reviews: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

Filed under BookLIGHT

New Food Ratings: Yums Up


New Food Ratings: Yums Up (Randyjw; May 19, 2016)


Hello! Thank you for all your kind likes, follows and nice comments. I really appreciate that you’ve taken your time to read my thoughts and respond with yours. That’s really kind.


In response to thesmilingpilgrims’ one-word compliment, “Yum”, on Easy Cheesy Rice, I replied something like (maybe not verbatim), “My thoughts plus yours make two Yum’s Up”! After a short while, it occurred to me that that would be a cute food rating system we could use across the blogosphere, no? Anything up to Ten Yums, allowing for fractions, versions and decimals will be permissible.


If I forget to do it and it becomes too burdensome, then I’ll drop the idea like a hot potato (ha-ha). But, meanwhile, I offer it to food bloggers and food lovers out there who might have fun with the idea.


I suddenly went on a food blog tangent the other day and began seeing what was out there, since I’d recommended someone to do the same. I liked what I saw. I decided I’d tell you what caught my fancy in the nice food blogs I’ve seen on that journey. I’m not getting formal with links and total accuracy here, but you can check for yourself and see what you like. P.S. These are non-tested; you’re the judge.


The Hirshon / The Food Dictator – https://www.thefooddictator.com/ – Totally amazing recipes and background research make this a Ten Yums Up site!

Anisa Kazemi – https://iaccidentlyatethewholething.com – Always a love. You’ll love her, too.

Maya – artsyteenblog – A blog for teens. Really incredible. Craft projects and recipes. Check out her divine looking lemon-based dessert recipes.

Maureen Abood – http://www.maureenabood.com/ – Lebanese and inspired food from her heritage.

Georgia McDermott – George Eats. http://www.georgeats.com/ – Interesting ideas and journey.

Ania – http://www.lazycatkitchen.com/ – A vegan life lived in the Greek Isles.

Christina – http://www.christinacooks.com/ – Every episode of her tv show features tantalizing plant-based dishes that never disappoint. Get her tips and explore ideas at her website, as well.

Stunning food photography and edible artistry at: https://ice-cream-magazine.com/

Nepali Food: http://www.food-nepal.com/ – Recipes, learning about local dishes, etc.

http://www.cookingandme.com/ – Delicious pix and easy Indian, and other, food recipes.

Morgan – http://hostthetoast.com/ – Great twists on classic dishes and fusion-food.

Pati’s Mexican Table: Mexican food is more than enchiladas. Pati Jinich shows you how: https://patijinich.com/

New Scandinavian Cooking: Andreas Viestad cooks up some new, interesting recipes: http://www.newscancook.com/

Nick Stellino: Italian food with friends. http://www.nickstellino.com/

The Free Range Cook: Annabel Langbein cooks up local foods grown in New Zealand: http://www.annabel-langbein.com/


Nominate a food blog, read food tips, get recipes: http://www.foodista.com/


Anthony Bourdain – Oh, yeah… HarperCollins Publishers’ books include cookbook authors, and the Ecco imprint was the line reserved for Anthony Bourdain and his choice selections of break-out, budding talents. I found this info under the HarperCollins website and learned they have a New Zealand/Australia/World branch, which I clicked on. I found their site rather friendly toward the solicitation of new materials. If you’d like to make a submission of your work for consideration, please do so on a Wednesday only, and here is the link: http://www.wednesdaypost.com.au/. I also read some Anthony Bourdain quotes, one of which really had me laughing alot, at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1124.Anthony_Bourdain


I’m sure I probably inadvertently left off people I meant to include — that’s one problem with lists. If I remember for the future, I’ll try to add-in more as I go along. Meanwhile, thanks for reading. May your life and health, as well as your food, be hearty and happy! – Randy

Comments Off on New Food Ratings: Yums Up

Filed under Eat

Defending Odedi


Defending Odedi (Randyjw; with corrections 04/28/2016)


As it happens in the internet world, one person’s expertise in one area might lead you to the discovery of interesting facets of another subject. So it is with writers for web sites and information researchers, as well as it is for purveyors of fine reading materials in leisurely pursuit.


Thus it was that hard-working Odedi, by happenstance, ran across my WordPress blogsite, NewsNotes1. He is a wine reviewer with an ever-expanding corpus of followers engaged in kind reparte’ about wine at his blog: https://winesipping.wordpress.com/, with the exception of one commenter, who chose to unsubscribe from his website.


Apparently, he does his homework beyond the expectations of any casual commenter about the subject. By proactively seeking out every little reference regarding wine that he can unearth, he uncovers new avenues and gleans additional information supportive of his knowledge base. That’s how he ran across my website, due to my mention of a charoset preparation for Passover I made utilizing Manischewitz Concord Grape wine.


And, I’m glad he did, because it gave me the opportunity to peruse his website in kind and to read several articles he had recently written about several white Californian wines he had sampled, and his reactions to the same. I found his reviews engaging, highly knowledgeable, and well-written, to the extent that I commented whether he had written professionally for wine magazines, and if he were not — at least yet, at this point in time — that he, indeed, should be doing so for the forseeable future.


Better still was the engaging commentary supplied by wine lovers, distributors, store owners and others, who lent his wine site an authoritative and approachable forum in which to communicate one’s passions and experiences, or lack thereof, in the subject.


Now, I’m not an oenophile, and I have no raging passion for wine: I actually can’t stand dry, white wines and decidedly reason to differ why anyone would prefer such a wine, over, say, a nice, Concord grape with plenty of sweetness and full-bodied, fruity flavor. However, I do recognize the passion for grape-growers, and all that entails.


I share, though not latently, an interest in that passion. I secretly admire the heritage of grape cultivation and the arboreal-horticultural similarities to the studies of botany, geology, soil and earth sciences, climatology, grafting, and other aspects that go into wine production that the end result must ostensibly cover. Equally interesting are the wine producers and their vineyards — their so called “stock”-in-trade.


Though I haven’t researched it, it stands out firmly that some, if not the earliest, mentions of grapes comes from the Holy Land, in Israel, found in the pages resident of the Old Testament, related as the foundation of the Jewish religion described within its pages therein. The fruit was so large, it required another to bear it between them, and the iconic image became emblazoned on all communique’s emanating from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism for such a long time, that, eventually, they have been changing the logo continuously over the past few decades.


Nazirs were ones who abstained from the grape products, and our King Solomon emoted poetical on the pleasures of its essences. The Psalms of King David and friends speak of the desire to be able to rest, each man, beneath his fig and his vine, without the need to war for our existence on earth. These first known odes to the grape originate among the Jewish tribes of Israel. The stuffed grape leave has long been a staple of Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.


Wine-making goes back thousands of years in Israel. Huge vats and presses, as well as the amphorae, the vessels of clay made for the storage of other items, as well as clay seals and stamps, have been excavated from Israeli soil, attesting to the veracity of its thousands of years of production original to Israel.


Why anybody, especially in today’s day and age, would attack a wine reviewer for including numerous Israeli wines among his reports, is beyond me. Such a commenter showed up at Odedi’s “winesipping” website and proceeded to comment, rather vociferously, about Odedi’s lack of a personal biography attesting to his related credentials at the site. Another additional comment, seeming to require and, almost demand, it of him again was made. The commenter, traderbillonwine, seemed rather intimidating, to me. That is why I am writing this post about it. He also made his displeasure of his reportage on the many Israeli products at his site seem like an offense for taking a more prominent place among his listings than he felt was deserved.


Pardon me, Sir. Perhaps the Minnesota weather has had you snowed in for a time and you haven’t realized that Israel’s award-winning wines have taken top billing in international judging competitions worldwide, and that boutique wineries in Israel’s emerging new wine markets are gaining top prizes and are finding their way to tables in fine-dining establishments and into the dark holds of winecellars everywhere.


In fact, Israel saved France’s wine industry, as France saved Israel’s, long ago — or so I’ve been told. I don’t know. I only worked at a wine and liquor store for a few weeks as a subcontracted individual helping people with their carts, and occasionally leading people to their selections, or to added help from the store personnel more qualified to answer their inquiries. It did give me an opportunity to read the wine industry magazines in the lunchroom while on my breaks. I do notice the similarly-styled descriptions found in these trade sources matching the nuanced descriptions found in Odedi’s views. I don’t know why this one gentleman would take such offense, as such.


Perhaps he’ll blow it off as a blowhard commenter and let it pass, the steam of its negativity spiraling itself to nowhere. It’d be a good idea. As for me, I’m gonna do what I do, whether I do it “well” or otherwise; I am going to comment on its inappropriateness, as a seemingly thinly-veiled “stab” (to use a poor choice of words, but which carries its weight of significance well) on an individual who deals with Israeli products made from (*gasp!*) Israel.


The fact that he does or doesn’t post a personal biography with his personal details in it for the eyes of all, sane and insane, to see in a public space in no way refutes his abilities to continue to post his reviews online for the mass public to enjoy. That he can wrest the industry, much like Israel has done, away from its cartel-like vice around the industry might grate at the “fine sensibilities” of those who have tried to hold its closely-guarded secrets against the vest.


I do feel that opening it up, being more transparent, has actually revived an old-heritage institution. It might be time, Sir, for you to see the light… or the rose’… or the red… or the Syrah…

Comments Off on Defending Odedi

Filed under Uncategorized

Yiddish Folksongs: Orchestra of the Jewish Theatre Bucharest (CD)


Yiddish Folksongs: Orchestra of the Jewish Theatre Bucharest (CD)


Conductor: Chajim Schwartzmann; International Passport; Laserlight Digital 15 185. (p) 1990 Delta Music Inc., Los Angeles, CA, 90064. © 2002 Delta Entertainment Corporation; 1663 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90025. Laserlight Digital is a registered trademark of Delta Entertainment Corporation. According to Wikipedia.org (accessed April 11, 2016), the company filed for a reorganization under Chapter 11, and decided by mid-2008 upon liquidation, including the sale of 170 music licenses. The dust jacket website for Delta Entertainment didn’t come up in my search, but, instead, I found this very interesting website from the digital library at the University of Pennsylvania, listing extensive notes corresponding to the album and CD, including transliterations of the Yiddish, and other unique information:



Wow, does this take one to another era. It’s a good thing, too, because nobody’s culture should be systematically eliminated, as the Germans tried to do to the Jews by barring their participation in the arts in Germany during various phases in their history, but especially during the Nazi regime, leading to the murder of six million Jews.


Each song represents the European settlement period following our expulsion from Spain, ordered by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. Heading East across Europe, we settled mainly in the areas of Germany and Poland (Russia would do the same, transferring us to a slim area of its territory called the Pale of Settlement, essentially the first Jewish ghetto).


Generally blessed with a sardonic sense of humor and optimism, we infused our song during this period with appropriate emotion reflective of our inner drive to rise above our situations. And yes, despite the worst, we have.


  1. A Ngindl (2:49) – female
  2. Gei ich mir spazim (1:48) – female
  3. Leig ich mir mein kepale (3:05) – female
  4. Iamce ram ciam (1:35) – man / Really good
  5. Di Mame is gegangn (2:27) – female
  6. Inter a klein Beimale – male
  7. Di Warnicikes – female / I hear something about “schmaltz” (fat) in this
  8. Ein mul ti ich si banaien (2:42) – male
  9. Lomir singen ciri bim, ciri bom (2:43) – male and female
  10. Wus dergeisti mir di lurn (3:22) – male and female
  11. Oi Awram (1:16) – female
  12. Di Mame kocht Warenikes (1:43) – male
  13. Mamaniu, liubeniu (3:53) – female / The best “Oy!” at the end
  14. Mit a Nudl un a Nudl (2:17) – male
  15. Asoj wie-s is bitter (2:40) – female
  16. Bin ich mir a Schneiderl (1:25) – male / Good representation of humor and emotion, like Italian
  17. Meheteineste meine (2:29) – female
  18. Wus-je wilsti? (2:13) – male and female



1, 7: Rochele Schapira

2, 3, 5: Nuscha Grupp-Stoian

11, 13, 17: Leonie Waldmann-Eliad

4, 14: Dorian Livianu

6, 9, 10, 18: Bebe Bercovici

8, 12, 16: Carol Marcovici

9, 10, 15, 18: Trici Abramovici


Comments Off on Yiddish Folksongs: Orchestra of the Jewish Theatre Bucharest (CD)

Filed under Listen, Musicality, Uncategorized

Aman Mohammed: La Tradition du Hejaz/The Tradition of Hejaz

Aman Mohammed: La Tradition du Hejaz/The Tradition of Hejaz (CD); OCORA Collection; OCORA C560158; 2001; Paris (02/14/16 Google search; landing page description for the following: (http://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/200702/music/default.htm) – (Information not accessible); Maison de Radio France, Piece 1275, 116 Avenue du President Kennedy, 75786, Paris, Cedex 16 (02/14/16: (https://www.discogs.com/label/57784-Ocora)).

Per Wikipedia.org, accessed 02/14/2016, OCORA (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocora) specializes in world music field recordings. It was established as part of state-owned Radio France in 1957, located at Maison de La Radio along the River Seine.

  1. Ya Makkat al-Khayr (04:47): Surprising in that some of the trope/trills sound almost reminiscent of Hebrew, down to even the “New York”/Ashkenazi pronunciation.
  2. Ahimu bi-Ruhi (05:59): A familiar tune, but I don’t like the styling. Too choppy. Would have preferred this in different regional dialect, with more whole, rounded vocalizations, rather than drawn and nasal.
  3. Hadha al-Futur (Ya Man Hawahu) (08:29): Soft, nice musical intro… Wish joining voice was so, but it’s sung with sufficient emotion to reflect the words of its poetry.
  4. Ayyuha al-Zabyu Masul al-Lama (05:39): Track 3 passed into Track 4 (this one) without much notice. Can do work with this in the background.
  5. Wa-lamma Talaqayna (07:32): Nice poem in translation. Too many scratches on this borrowed c.d. to hear it well. No discernible melody, so not as nice a match to the lyrics.
  6. Ya Ahl al-Hawa (09:36): Sounds like country music, Saudi-style.
  7. Ya Helwah Kasr el-Khawatir leh (03:05): This one starts off beautifully, musically. The singing is nice, too, but the sounds of some of the words in the beginning don’t sound so nice. But it is a nice song with rhythm and nice singing. Maybe the best song on the whole album.
  8. Ya Sayyid al-Helwin (10:25): This is a really cool song. It sounds like ‘oasis’ meets ‘Orientalism’. Written by Ibrahim Khafaji, author of the Saudi Arabian national anthem, it draws on the Red Sea region, which is probably its appeal to me in sounding almost like a Jewish tribe in the Arabian areas, just across the sea from Israel. I think this might even top number seven, just prior to it.
  9. Jadak al-ghayth (10:08): This sounds like an octave-lower version of number eight, which is why I was confused when song ten popped up and I thought I missed number nine. This is beautiful in a sombre, haunting way. It does blend from song number eight and I think they should always be played together.
  10. Bi-Habib al-Qulub (05:37): No melody. One of the notes sung is done with clarity and beauty.

From the liner notes: Hijaz: Arabic for “barrier”; name of mountain chain running parallel to the Red Sea, separating the coastal plain to the west and the desert plateau of Nejd to the east. King Abd Al-Aziz Ibn Saud conquered Mecca in 1925 from Cherif Hussein (whose descendants went on to rule Iraq and Jordan).

Great liner notes include a quick, brief synopsis of Saudi/Middle Eastern history and a great compendium of study of the Arab styles of music and the origins of the styles by ethnomusicologist, Jean Lambert. Most surprising is the map showing the word, ‘Israel’, on it. Track 5 is a nice poem (the words to most of the tracks are translated).

It would be worth getting this c.d. just for songs 7, 8, and 9 alone.

Comments Off on Aman Mohammed: La Tradition du Hejaz/The Tradition of Hejaz

Filed under Musicality

Irish Tenors: Heritage

A nice album, but a bit annoying. Not as nice as I had wished. I enjoy this type of music at this time of year, but I was disappointed, overall.

Comments Off on Irish Tenors: Heritage

Filed under Musicality