28 July 2006

Concert For Bangladesh 35th Anniversary

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006 marks the 35th Anniversary of George Harrison and Ravi Shankar's Concert For Bangladesh. The event took place on August 1st 1971 at New York City's Madison Square Garden, and featured performances by George, Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell and Billy Preston.

Madison Square Garden will celebrate the 35th Anniversary by installing a plaque permanently in its "Walk of Fame" to commemorate this historic event. At 2pm on Tuesday, the plaque will be presented to Olivia, who said, "I know George would be happy that 35 years later the impact of his efforts are still felt and appreciated."

The plaque will be set alongside music legends such as The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead and fellow Beatle Paul McCartney. This presentation will mark the first time in Madison Square Garden history that a concert or event is honoured on the "Walk of Fame".

The concert alerted the world to the plight of the Bangladeshi people. "UNICEF is honoured to have been a part of this Concert and proud that 35 years later we are celebrating the humanitarian work of George Harrison," said Chip Lyons, President of UNICEF. "Childrens' lives, in Bangladesh and beyond, have been saved and improved thanks to the funds raised by The Concert for Bangladesh."

The film of the concert, released on DVD and CD last autumn, was recently certified 3 times platinum by the RIAA. All artists' royalties from the sales of the DVD and the CD continue to go to UNICEF. In commemoration, Ringo Starr and Ravi Shankar were presented with plaques, in New York and Los Angeles respectively.

Thank you,

18 July 2006


eBay's Feedback feature can be kida quirky. I've bought a few things from eBay and I find it quite convenient for locating specific items that you don't always find in a local department store. Collectible things mostly. The feedback feature can be an indicator of how reliable a seller might be. But it is my experience that it is more often than not a mere quid pro quo deal and, in my experience, sellers don't return the favour of a favourable feedback unless and until you / I / the buyer leaves a favourable feedback on them.

Case in point: In April 2005 I purchased from "personalplayer" what he claimed to be a brand new Jeff Beck DVD of a live performance in Japan. Yet when it arrived it was obvious to me that it was a knock-off, the cover was just a paper photocopy and the DVD was obviously a copy. I complained the personalplayer, told him I wanted my money back or I would leave a negative feedback (naively assuming that this would matter to him). He made no attempts at mediating or negotiating. So I left the negative feedback. Whereupon personalplayer left a negative feedback on me. This creates a warning sign to other sellers that I might not be a straight-up buyer. Fortunately, as a buyer I am able to respond to the negative feedback left on my buying record but it ultimately lowers your overall rating average.

This past May I purchased from "kitten2u" a four volume set of the Lord of the Rings that my son wanted. Being one to always encourage a child to read classic literature I happily obliged. That the seller's address was a mere 10 miles from my home left me to believe that this would be a smooth and swift transaction. Boy, oh boy was I ever wrong. After winning the auction, I promptly mailed my payment to the seller on May 8. On May 19 seller replied to my eMail saying she had not received my payment. I wrote her back and asked her to check her mail that day again because I had mailed it over ten days ago and if necessary I would need to place a stop payment on the check. She wrote me back to say "Oh i am sorry yours was the one for the books? Yes I did get your money order and your books will be mailed monday. Sorry about the confusion it has been very hectic here the last few days." By May 29th I still had not received the books and I wrote her one last time threatenting that if I did not receive my purchase I was going to forward her eMails to eBay for resolution. The books finally did arrive but not before I endured two weeks of my son's constant questioning "Have my books come yet?" Oy vay. Needless to say I did not leave her a feedback, negative, neutral or otherwise for fear that she would do what the previous bad seller did and leave a negative feedback on me.

Similarly, last month I purchased from "anitas_stuff" two cute little retro aprons, like my mom used to wear. I mailed my check after winning the autions, fully aware of anitas' policy of holding the items for ten days for all purchases made with a personal check. On July 10 I wrote to her that my check for $23.96 cleared my bank on 6/21 and that the website shows payment received as of 30 June. But I had yet to receive the aprons and wondered what the status was. Anita wrote me back to say "Hi, Yes you are right and I was going to mail it today but to be honest it has been hectic and I forgot all about it .. I have one other item to mail out so they will both go to the Post office tomorrow (Tuesday) .. promise! .. Anita"

It seems to be that these big time sellers are the ones that get "hectic". So it is not clear to me whether these major, big number sellers are really all that reliable.

For the most part I have had good luck with eBay. But instead of leaving negative feedback for these inconsiderate sellers on eBay, I've decided to execise my freedom of speech here.

14 July 2006

Ray Davies - Warfield 13.07.06

Went to the Warfield in San Francisco last night with An English Boy to see Ray Davies of the Kinks. I feel confident that I am now beginning to get Ray Davies, much thanks to my Baby. Ray is indeed a talented and complicated man. I think it would be fair to say that even genius might apply aptly. But he is certainly an inspiration.

I missed out on the Kinks really, another rotten case of born too late. Yet while I caught to train, albeit a little late in the game, for the BeaTles and the Who->, and finally catching up with the RollingStones, even if only last year, somehow I failed to seek deeper into the catchy radio songs of the Kinks. But there was Ray all along, looming deeper than the sea.

I got caught up in the emotion a couple of times last night. It was really that good. Ray looks great. At 62 he can still shimy & shake. The band was tight. The guitarist (Mark?) was terrific without stealing any of Ray's limelight. Oklahoma USA was sublime. Mardi Gras was explosive. All Day And All of the Night was electrifying. Apeman was total fun. Ray was very engaging, although the acoustics did not enhance his discoursing. Not to mention the people around us making it even more difficult with their inane and constant chattering.

I worried a lot for Ray when I read of his attack in New Orleans in 2004 but he seems to have recovered nicely, judging by his jumps on stage. Born lucky I guess. Like me walking through the Tenderloin after the show, holding tight to my Baby and what do I find but a crumpled up fiver on the sidewalk. But money can't buy sweet lovin' - that's what I got my sweet baby for...Gonna love my baby all the time....

Thanks Ray.

13 July 2006

We had a grand time in Gualala

After wending our way up the Coastal Highway 1, we arrived at our destination in under two hours. Our room at the Whale Watch Inn was called Reflection. It was nicely appointed with a large round mirror at the entrance, a large Jacuzzi tub, a fireplace, nice seating area and Queen bed. But the crowning feature was the spectacular view we had from the private balcony, overlooking a peaceful cove of the Pacific. A gentle breeze wafted in as we decompressed from our ride.

Friday evening we dined at a restaurant called Top of the Cliff. It touted itself as a fine dining experience, but I can assure you it was far from that. I should have known better when I saw it was situated atop a strip mall of souvenir shops. But we took a chance. The soup and salad was adequate but it preceded downhill from there. My Love’s main course was to have been a Hot Pot of Seafood consisting of Prince Edward Island Mussels, clams, snapper, salmon, scallops and prawns in a mussel broth topped with puff pastry. The pastry was over cooked and charred in places and the shellfish ended up being much work for less results. For my entrĂ©e I chose the Flame Broiled Swordfish with spicy mango salsa. I usually love swordfish and when I hear steak I expect something substantial but this “steak” was a mere half-inch thick (if that), the “salsa” was simply cut up tart mango, and bell peppers. The side dishes were a rice and nut dish, that lack any keenness and about four green beans laid atop a teaspoon of wilted spinach. The food was not the only disappointment. A solo acoustic guitarist provided the evening’s “entertainment”. I usually give a lot breadth to performers who eke out a living playing music but this guy left as much to be desired as the food. His first number was either a medley of Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant and Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice or just a badly played Alice’s Restaurant. Then he took a break and made a trip to the bar. The second song was Stairway to Heaven (yes he did) and another trip to the bar. Finally he played Hotel California. It was like a bad flashback to the seventies, man.

Ultimately, adding insult to injury, when the bill arrived we observed that the waitress had miscalculated and attempted to over-charge us by $10. My advise to anyone considering a trip to this area, try the Oceansong instead. Better yet for just a little bit more have a truly memorable fine dining experience and go to the St. Orres as we did the following night.

We returned to our lovely room and consoled ourselves with a luxurious bath, crackling fire and watched the moonlight dance on the water.

Saturday we awoke to a glorious morn with sunlight streaming into our room. Our breakfast was brought to our door and consisted of delectable eggs benedict, and strawberries and cream, coffee, English tea and juice. Absolutely delicious it was.

We then set out to do some exploring in Gualala, stopping into a couple of galleries and back to those souvenir shops that were closed the night before. We acquired a few gifts and things and then heeded south to the Enchanted Chapel in Sea Ranch. What a beautiful and fabulous little building tucked just off the road. We spent a quiet respite there before heading back north and into Point Arena.

Point Arena is a trippy little town that deserved much more exploring than we were able to give it this trip; a real throw back it is. We found the light house and took some photos from a distance, barked at some lazy seals lounging on the rocks below us and then decided to head back to our hotel where we descended the 136 steps to the beach below. The weather was magnificent, toasty warm with a hint of breeze and waves gently lapping at the shore. We discovered a lovely waterfall from Ferguson Creek. But all too soon we needed to ascend the steps and get ready for our evening meal.

The St. Orres is a masterpiece of architecture and culinary artistry. I highly recommend. After the previous night’s disappointment, we chose to go all out. For the soup course My Love chose the warm Fennel soup and I chose the cold watermelon soup. This was my first experience with a cold soup and it was delicious, top with a spot of whipped cream and a blackberry, it easily could have passed for a dessert. Next we had appetizers of chilled oysters on the half shell and baby abalone. This was my first try with abalone and it was delicious. The salad course was a fresh tomato and basil vinaigrette and goat cheese. Not being a huge fan of fresh tomatoes I might have opted for something else had it been offered but this was a tasty and visually lovely dish. For the main course I had the prawns on a bed of garlic fettuccini and my dining companion had the pheasant stuffed with Andouille sausage and Wild Mushroom Risotto Cakes. Everything was exquisite. And though we should not have, we ordered dessert. For me something called Chocolate Decadence, a sweet chocolate treat that was almost a dense as chocolate fudge with a brownie cake like texture, topped with whipped cream. Decadent indeed! My Love had the light and fluffy cheesecake. We almost needed a wheelbarrow to lug our butts back to the car.

Then another luxurious bath in the Jacuzzi tub, toasty fire and gazing out over the balcony in our birthday suits, watching a million dazzling diamonds dancing on the water in the silvery moonlight reflection. To feel so very posh, makes one truly grateful.

I slept so peacefully being lulled by the rhythm of the waves gently caressing the shore. In the morning we had another delicious breakfast, French toast with jammy cream cheese middle, a fruit salad of melon, blueberries and strawberries and blueberry muffin. Excllent!

After a quick jaunt down to the cove for a brief farewell to the playfull sea otters gathered there, we said our goodbyes to our charming innkeeper Kazuko Popplewell and promised to return as soon as we could.

To be continued…

06 July 2006

Our Weekend Getaway...

We're heading off for the wild blue yonder. Gualala, to be exact, on the rugged coastline of South Mendocino County. It is going to be an incredible weekend of romance and adventure for My Love and I, a second honeymoon. We are so excited!

I'll blog all about it when we get back....

03 July 2006

Olivia's dream purchase

George Harrison's widow, Olivia, recently purchased a giant living sculpture for the garden at their Friar Park home in England. You can read about it here. The sculpture is called Dreaming Girl.