Grab Bag Round-Up – May 2015

I hope you’re all having a good weekend, whether you’re simply relaxing, plan to enjoy the Eurovision finals, or are doing something fun over the long three-day holiday in American and the U.K. It seemed like a good time for this month’s Grab Bag, with a look at random things from perfume articles on Roja Dove, CB I Hate Perfume, and Frederic Malle, to blurb reviews of two white floral perfumes that missed the mark for me, and the more personal things occupying my attention this month like music, films, a great cookbook, and The Hairy German.

Perfume Articles from the Last Month: There haven’t been as many interesting news pieces this month as compared to the last, but a few things stood out.

  • Source:


    From The Telegraph newspaper: Roja Dove, ‘the nose’, on creating a Western aoud cult.” I know every country has its jingoistic media sites, and that journalist idiocy is nothing new, but really, this article made me want to smack the writer, Rebecca Burn-Callander, over the head. The reason? This little gem: “Roja (pronounced Roger) Dove is also the man who reinvented one of the most popular scents in the Middle East for a western market. […] Dove was one of the aoud pioneers (it can also be spelled “oud”), launching the first of his smoky fragrances in 2011. Other best-sellers, such as Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Intensa d’Oud, didn’t come to the market until a year later. Tom Ford’s Oud Fleur was launched in 2013.” That’s some chutzpah to implicitly frame Tom Ford’s oud creations as something derivative that followed Roja Dove’s lead two years later with Oud Fleur. It was Tom Ford, not Roja Dove, who pioneered the genre in the West in 2002 with his legendary M7 for YSL. Plus, any moderately competent person writing about a Tom Ford oud would surely have heard about the much earlier, 2007 Oud Wood, which basically has cult-hit status. Just Google the words “Tom Ford Oud,” and see what shows up right at the top. (Hint: it’s not the 2013 Oud Fleur.) I think Roja Dove is a lovely fellow and incredibly charming, but to call him an oud pioneer who “reinvented” the genre in 2011 is inexcusably inaccurate. I would laugh if I weren’t so irritated. Intellectual laziness and sloppiness are two of my biggest pet peeves — from anyone, period. But The Telegraph is, ostensibly, more than a tiny fourth-rate paper, more than a tabloid rag like News of the World; one theoretically expects some modicum of journalistic effort. My mistake, and not one that I’ll make again. From now on, I’ll classify them with the bleating Daily Mail.

  • Frederic Malle. Photo: Geordie Wood for The Financial Times.

    Frederic Malle. Photo: Geordie Wood for The Financial Times.

    The Telegraph actually has another article this month on Roja Dove, this time on how his nose is too sensitive to bear the subway/Tube. (Is he paying them to come up with this inanity, or are they morons all by themselves? Surely they were never this bad?!) I’m far too irritated to share it, so I shall focus instead on The Financial Times‘ piece called “Boutique perfume: on the scent of a deal” on Frederic Malle, Le Labo, Memo Paris, and the acquisition of niche brands by large conglomerates. (You will have to answer 2 short marketing questions to get to the article.) A few quotes from Malle in the piece: “‘Firstly, I hate the word ‘niche’,” says Malle, who started his company in 2000. “Niche means ‘small’ and I never intended to be small for long, beautiful as it is. […] I wanted to have a luxury house, and to be the Guerlain of tomorrow. […] If you look at the industry’s history, it went from perfumers making and selling perfumes, to mass-market companies renting celebrity names and asking chemical companies to make perfumes that could be sold in duty free,” he explains. “All we did is put the perfumer back.’” On Clara Malloy, the co-founder of Memo: “‘Competition is the opposite of creativity,” says Clara Molloy, co-founder of Paris artisanal fragrance brand Memo, the top seller at Harvey Nichols. “You have a team who will decide the winning fragrance. It has to please the MD, the assistant, the president, the president’s wife. It has to please consumers around the world. It becomes a process of seduction, and with fragrance that’s easy — you put in something a bit sweet, a lot of musk, you say ‘peaches are fashionable in China’. But is that really an experience of fragrance?’

  • Christopher Brosius via

    Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfumes via

    From Yahoo News: “The World’s Strangest Scents: Old Books, Saddles, and Roast Beef” focuses primarily on Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume, DS & Durga, and their more untraditional olfactory creations: “‘A lot [of fragrances] are incredibly boring, redundant certainly, and far too many are pointless,’ says Brosius.” He wants to create “very different experiences.” “Take In the Library, for instance: an unusual perfume that captures the smell of books in a way that will immediately connect with readers. (The secret: An “English Novel” note that Brosius had derived from a real book.) Another fragrance, Invisible Monster, finds inspiration in a specific episode of the old cartoon TV series Jonny Quest to create a scent that’s floral and earthy.” [Emphasis to names added by me.] The article also briefly covers Malle (“Many of today’s perfumes leave him as unimpressed as Brosius”), and has a quote from Luca Turin about how unusual “strange” fragrances sometimes go mainstream. Turin cites Angel as an example of that, which leaves me puzzled. Angel is intensely sweet and ghastly, yes, but strange?! (As a side note, if you want to read about perfumers creating really unorthodox, “strange” scents, you may be interested in an old post I wrote on how the famous nose, Christophe Laudamiel, tried to recreate the scents in Patrick Suskind‘s legendary Perfume novel, including Grenouille’s “Virgin” and “Human Existence” fragrances.)

Suskind's Perfume movie poster. Source:

Suskind’s Perfume movie poster. Source:

My Perfume Misses: I tried a few cheapie, white florals that aren’t worth covering in a proper review, but I thought I would mention them very briefly here:

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    Madeleine Mono made a famous (vintage) tuberose eau de parfum called Madeleine de Madeleine, and I tried the modern version recently: bug spray. Yes, there was tuberose, but it was a wispy, synthetic, cheap-smelling, thin tuberose that behind a wall of mosquito repellant bug spray that smelled both chemical and like the Citronella candles that people use outside in summer. On Fragrantica, some people mention it in the same sentence as Fracas. I think that’s sacrilege.

  • Casaque EDT via Amazon

    Casaque EDT via Amazon

    Casaque was originally released in 1957 by Jean d’Albret, and was a much beloved white floral. It is now made by Long Lost Perfume, which Fragrantica says has been taken over by the Irma Shorell company (which also puts out the aforementioned Madeleine Mono bug spray). Irma Shorell-Long Lost Perfume has partnered with Jeffrey Dame to have him reformulate old vintage classics. Fragrantica provides a range of notes for Casaque, but I suspect that they apply to the original version, not the current release which is primarily white florals dominated by tuberose. On my skin, Casaque opens with a rubbery tuberose that is indolic, slightly mentholated, and with undertones of plastic. It’s trailed by a dewy, fresh gardenia, resulting in a very green scent with a suggestion of leafiness around the edges and a subtle creaminess in the base. It’s not terrible at first, but it turns into a hazy white floral blur after 30 minutes with soapiness instead of an indolic edge. I suppose that’s better than rubbery tuberose with plastic. Casaque quickly turns into a generic soapy, quasi-gardenia body spray. It doesn’t feel like actual perfume, but like a body spray that is lighter than a mere cologne. Casaque also doesn’t project, doesn’t last long, and is so generic, it’s wholly unforgettable. Avon‘s old (now discontinued) Gardenia body spray in its Naturals line had more oomph and quality; its freshness never smelt soapy; and you can still find it on eBay for $10-$15. Long Lost Perfumes sells a 2 oz/60 ml bottle of Casaque for $55. I don’t see the point.



Cooking/Cookbooks: I haven’t had time to make anything exciting this month, for reasons that will become clear later, but I’ve been going through a cookbook I love as escapist fun. It’s Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij who is essentially the Persian Julia Child. (Here are Amazon US, UK, and France links to the book.) To quote the description on Amazon, the updated 25th anniversary version “provides 330 classical and regional Iranian recipes as well as an introduction to Persian art, history, and culture. The book’s hundreds of full color photographs are intertwined with descriptions of ancient and modern Persian ceremonies, poetry, folktales, travelogue excerpts and anecdotes. […] It is the result of 30 years of collecting, testing and adapting authentic and traditional Persian recipes for the American kitchen. Most of its ingredients are readily available throughout the U.S. enabling anyone from a master chef to a novice to reproduce the refined tastes, textures, and beauty of Persian cuisine. Food-related pieces from such classics as the 10th century Book of Kings, and 1,001 Nights to the miniatures of Mir Mosavvar and Aq Mirak, from the poetry of Omar Khayyam and Sohrab Sepehri to the humor of Mulla Nasruddin are all included.” I think Food of Life is truly an amazing and beautiful book, a feast for the senses on many levels, with really delicious recipes and justly deserves all the praise it has received from reviewers to famous chefs alike. So If you like cooking and Middle Eastern food of any kind, then give it a look on Amazon (or at any big bookstore).

Music This Month: I have eclectic music tastes, but one thing that is a constant is that I’m a sucker for anything with heavy strings — violin, cello, or both. Whether it’s the theme to Game of Thrones (which I can listen to on repeat for ages), pop music (Dido to Alphaville), or a classical piece, if it has a lot of strings, I’ll sit up and take notice. My absolute favorite composition, and what I’ve been listening to a lot this month, is Pablo Sarasate‘s Carmen Fantasy which takes Bizet’s opera, Carmen, and gives its gypsy music (particularly the famous Habanera) a twist with an incredibly challenging violin solo. The Carmen Fantasy is a lilting piece with highs and lows, but the highlight is the build-up and crescendo at the end. In the hands of a true virtuoso, the result is utterly dizzying, the violin bow flying so fast over the strings that — with no exaggeration or hyperbole — it almost seems as if the violinist must be possessed. The old American classic, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” by The Charlie Daniels Band about the devil competing with a genius fiddler really should be about whomever can master the Carmen Fantasy.

To me, the best version is always by Leila Josefowicz who was a child prodigy and who first took on the infamous piece at the age of 14. Her version of it is beyond all belief; I honestly don’t know how someone’s fingers/bow can possibly move that fast. It seems inhuman, and I so wish I could share it with you. That version is on a CD called Leila Josefowicz Violin for Anne Rice (which, oddly enough, also features a song by Sting). Unfortunately, the sole clip of her playing it on YouTube is a later version with heinous quality, uploading distortions, and breaks. The violinist, Sarah Chang, has an okay version that I can share with those of you who may like violin pieces or Carmen, but it’s absolutely nothing like Leila’s level of skill. Here’s a clip which I’ve positioned about 8 minutes in (it’s a 12-minute piece in total) and the key build-up occurs about the 9:45 mark, but the piece obviously has the most impact when listened to from the start:

At the other end of the musical spectrum, I love Muse, and have been listening a lot to Uprising and Hysteria:

Movies: I finally caught up with Selma and the Hunger Games Mockingjay Part I. The “Hanging Tree” song in the latter was so haunting, it was probably my favorite part of the film. (That’s another song that I’ve been listening to on repeat this month.) What I enjoyed the most, though, was a British film called Pride with Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Dominic West, and others. It’s an incredibly hilarious, uplifting, and moving 2014 film based on the true story of the extremely unlikely, odd union of gay activists and striking Welsh coal miners in Margaret Thatcher’s early 1980s England. The mere memory of the scene where very flamboyant Londoners descend on a tiny, rural Welsh village and the miners’ stunned reaction to them makes me laugh. There is great 80s music (Relax, Love & Pride, Tainted Love, and Bronski Beat’s Why), while the end is uplifting and had me cheering out loud and fist-pumping the air.



Television – Good to Great: Mad Men‘s final episodes were on an uptrend, in my opinion, but I shan’t discuss the details, as some of you may not yet have seen them. I cared more, however, about the final season of Foyle’s War, one of my favorite detective series. It is set in coastal England at the outbreak of WW2 going through to the start of the Cold War with MI6 in London, and features the master of understated acting, Michael Kitchen, as the one honourable man in a world filled with corruption and duplicity. Each season has 3 “episodes” that are 90-minutes long, and covers the issues of the time with great historical authenticity. When Robin of Now Smell This told me on Twitter that this was the final season, I went into mourning. If you like both stately detective series and the WW2 period, I really recommend the show.



Joy This Month: Speaking of British television and Robin of Now Smell This, I will forever be grateful to her for telling me about a new streaming service in America and Canada called Acorn TV. Acorn is the exclusive distributor for all the British (and Australian) series, from comedies to drama, old and new, with a massive library of hits: Foyle’s War, Doc Martin, Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Rebus, Morse, Vera, Prime Suspect, Jeeves & Wooster, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Brideshead Revisited, and so much more, including exclusive content. Acorn has set up something like Netflix, and it’s very reasonably priced: $4.99 a month or $49 a year, but you can get the first month free just to try it out. You can watch on all sorts of popular devices, or straight from your television if you download the Acorn app. (My Samsung TV has it, but a family member’s older Panasonic doesn’t seem to show it.) The only problem I’m having is that my video stream often breaks up, I have to re-load the app, find my show, start it from scratch, then forward to the relevant section. The process is laborious, inconvenient, and not as straight forward as it is on Netflix when you get streaming errors there. Acorn gives me an “Network Error” message and tells me to check my connection, but I don’t believe it because I don’t have this problems incessantly on Netflix. Still, the first month is free, so if you’re a huge fan of British shows, you really should check out the site.

The Hairy German.

The Hairy German.

Hairy German News: Several of you have asked about My Teutonic Overlord, so for those of you who are not dog/animal people, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs. My poor sweetheart is not well. I thought his chronic skin allergy issues had flared up, but it turns out to be much worse news. He’s got Perianal Fistulas, which is a ghastly, lifelong, chronic and progressive disease that affects German shepherds above all others, though Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Corgis, and other breeds are also susceptible.

Until recently, about 8-10 years ago, “PF” often ended up being a death sentence, with owners having to put down their dogs to relieve their suffering. I’ll spare you the physical specifics, but you can read more about PF at these English or French links if you’re curious. (Warning: there are gross photos on both sites.) Medications were rarely effective; neither was surgery to cut out the affected areas, or amputation of the tail. Then came along a hugely expensive pill called Atopica ($400-$500 a month) which can have up to an 80% success rate in controlling the disease, though the dogs have to stay on it for life. A generic (clyclosporine) is now available, though only slightly less expensive, but the main problem is that some dogs can’t handle it, not even in the smallest doses (which also tend to be doses too low to have any medical effect).

Zola_Hairy GermanThe Hairy German may, unfortunately, be one of those dogs. Last weekend was so utterly awful, you have no idea, with side-effects that made me wonder how I could put my boy through such a thing and if a death sentence were down the road. It wasn’t the Dante-esque nightmare that I went through with my last furry child, the original “Kafka,” but it was awful nonetheless. (Kafka was given Atopica for Lupus. And, no, I do not have much luck with the breed’s health issues, but I’m a GSD zealot for life and I’d sooner give up perfume than one of them.) In any event, I’ve spent the last week stabilizing my poor boy, which is why I’ve failed to answer most comments on the blog lately. PF is a situation which frequently requires a fine-tuning of the cocktail of pills (prednisone steroids, Atopica, and heavy antibiotics) to get the condition under control lest the flesh essentially turns to oozing, sulphurous-smelling, bloody meat, so Zola’s vet (whom I love and think is fantastic) has adjusted the dosage levels for his medications, but refuses to give up on the Atopica until we’ve tried every possible amount of it. The alternative is too dire.

Zola at A&MSo far, Zola is managing on the lower levels, but I see hints of the dreaded “swiss cheese holes” in the skin starting to emerge. It may be because he was off the pills for 4 days as he recuperated, so we’ll have to see if things improve under once the Atopica builds up in his system again. Then again, once that happens, the possibility of anorexia looms on the horizon as many dogs on Atopica refuse to eat, due to the pill’s effect on the stomach, but I’m prepared with Zantac 75, some prayers to the canine gods, and His Highness’ favorite treats. (Watermelon, pears, celery, and apples. Don’t ask. Just trust me when I say that you’ve never seen anything quite like a huge German shepherd daintily nibbling on a whole pear or chunk of watermelon.)

Impact on the Blog: I’ve gone into so much detail over the Hairy German’s condition so you’ll understand why managing the PF is going to significantly impact my time and schedule in the weeks and/or months ahead. Responding to blog comments may be the first thing to suffer, as it always takes some time, but my reviews may also change, becoming shorter or wholly cursory. (At least, as “cursory” as someone like me can manage.) I’m putting off a European trip that was scheduled for June, and will have to see about another planned for September/October. I may not be going on holiday, but I’m exhausted, so I may simply vanish from posting for days at a time to take care of my boy and recuperate. It’s just hard to focus on things right now, particularly perfume. A whole slew of new releases are sitting idly by, even ones for which I’ve already tested and taken copious notes, but writing is a real struggle. Even more so to write with any degree of caring, passion, or literary fervour.

I know most of you will understand why my priorities have changed right now, but I do feel guilty and will try to continue on as though nothing had happened. I just ask for your patience if my reviews change in frequency or detail, or if they sound utterly flat or mechanical.

Anyway, I’ve bored you all long enough with depressing personal stuff, so let’s talk about happier things. Do you have any fun plans for the long weekend (if you’re in a place where there is one)? Are there any upcoming holidays that you’re looking forward to? What are some of your recent loves, whether films, television shows, books, food, or something else? Will you be watching or streaming Eurovision? Does Acorn Television tempt any of you? Or, you can skip all that and talk about something else, anything that is going on in your life. I’ll enjoy reading all of it, even if I’m unable to respond. Have a great weekend everyone!

45 thoughts on “Grab Bag Round-Up – May 2015

  1. just put a hold at my library for Food of Life! I’ve been enjoying Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana, Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond. No travels for me only the book kind, reading Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book. warmest of thoughts to you and your pooch!

    • Thank you for the kind thoughts, and for the tip on the cookbook! I hope you like Food of Life, and that you’ll let me know what you think once you go through it.

  2. Do not think about the blog or reviews. Do think about you and the hairy German. You obviously need one another now, so have some ‘me-time’, get a good supply of his favorite treats, (hey I love celery too ) and do something that feels good, for you. When you feel like returning to the blog, we will still be here! And Zola is far more important! Now, go with your boy, give him a big hug and you’ll see it’ll all get better!! xx

    • Thank you, my dear. I should have posted the photo I have of him eating a celery stalk, but it’s not the best shot. As for the blog, I’m the sort who always feels guilty if I’m not working and it’s hard to shake that off, so I’ll be trying to post as usual, only in shorter fashion. But if I sometimes vanish completely for a week, you’ll all know why. 🙂

  3. Nothing is as important as Zola’s health right now, certainly not perfume. You have your priorities straight. All the best to you and the Teutonhund at this difficult time.
    Glad you found time to write about Food of Life, though, because my cookbook hoard has nothing on Persian/Iranian cooking.
    Take care, dear.

    • Thank you, my sweets. I love Persian food, though some of the dishes are very laborious. Lebanese may be my favorite Middle Eastern cuisine, though. BTW, did you ever get that Jerusalem cookbook I posted about in my first Grab Bag Round-Up? I have the vague memory that you were interested in that one, too.

      As for my Teutonic Master, I’m being a good slave and tending to every wave of his paw. 🙂

      • I did, and I love “Jerusalem.” I have loved just reading it in bed at night, composing the dishes on my mental palate. I grew up in south Louisiana where a polyglot French-African-Spanish cuisine was an everyday art, so the amalgam cuisines are dear to my heart. Truly, the world sits down at the table together.

  4. I’ve had many thoughts about getting Acorn, but haven’t done so, so far. I loved Foyle’s War and thought it was so quietly understated and so beautifully acted by everyone in the series. I’m on Mad Men right now after being bombarded by my eldest son to watch it.
    When I encountered a major problem with one of my dogs, I ended up at the state university’s veterinary school. The academic setting often is aware of cutting edge treatments that are not generally disseminated, but I’m sure you already know that. My local vet actually recommended that that to me at the time
    Zola is by far your first priority. Everything else should take a back seat. The Teutonic Overlord needs your love and attention. Being a dog owner and dog lover myself, I can understand your need to devote your time to him. The blog can wait. I shall be thinking of you and Zola and sending healing thoughts.

    • Ellen, so kind of you to stop by. Thank you for your kind words and understanding. My Teutonic Overlord’s non-regular doctor (a Hip Dysplasia surgeon) is at one of the largest, best vet centers in the country, and I’ll definitely be speaking to him at some point for a back-up referral. From my understanding, though, the ghastly Atopica pill basically IS the latest treatment. There is an ointment or salve that is an option, but its success rate is significantly, substantially lower. Anyway, we’ll see.

      Regarding Acorn, despite the weird streaming glitches that I’m experiencing, it’s definitely most enjoyable and something you may want to try with the free one-month offer. Maybe you’ll have better luck and maybe it is something to do with my network after all. Who knows. The thing is, Masterpiece will not be showing the final 3 episodes of Foyles war on Sundays as they used to. In fact, they shunted it off without fanfare to the 11/10 pm hour on Saturday nights earlier this month, a time when almost no-one would see or know about it. So, if you missed seeing it there, Acorn may be your only option. I don’t think Netflix will get it since Acorn basically got almost exclusive rights in exchange for paying for the production costs and making of the final season, when ITV didn’t want to go ahead with it.

      • Thanks for the information regarding Foyle’s War.Combine British TV with PBS and Netflix and you’re pretty much good to go.
        It is so wrenching to watch a beloved pet when they are ill. I am so sorry.. Hopefully, Zola will do well on his current medication.
        My four fur babies send their love and wishes for his recovery.

        • By the way, I saw the pictures on Facebook of the German Shepards you like. Stunning dogs as is Zola. Did you get Zola from them? I had German Shepards for thirty years and then showed Great Pyrenees for six years before having to down size, so to speak. Coming home from my son’s wedding, we found a pure bred Great Pyrenees by the side of the road. We contacted the ASPCA who kept him for three days and then took him home when no one came to get him. A local restaurant told us he had lurking around the garbage for weeks.. We asked the ASPCA to contact us if anyone called to claim him. No one ever did and he has been with us now for five years. He is too big and too strong for me, so my partner walks him. My other three are much smaller and easier.

  5. Just a short comment as I am in a heavy training weekend with my Angela M. in the Ardennes, I am so so so sorry to read about the hairy German, I love the breed as passionately as you do and PF is a curse. When I am home I will mail you a possible treatment addition, just in case it is not known in the US. My heartfelt commiserations dear Kafka, and sending healthy dog vibes from madame der Bundeskansler.

    • Thank you, Hamamelis, especially for taking the time out of training Angela Merkel. PF really is a curse, isn’t it? Who knew that I’d end up with something that would make His Highness’ Hip Dysplasia look like an irrelevant thing? 🙁 Anyway, I would appreciate information on the possible treatment alternative, but only when you have the time. I wonder if you’re referencing the ointment/topical salve? If so, the statistics that I’ve seen for that aren’t as high/good/successful as the ones for the horrible pill, but it is something I have my eye on if the pill ends up having too many extreme side-effects even at a lower dosage.

      Please kiss Madame from me, from her head to her paws. I hope she and you both had fun during training.

  6. I’m so sorry about your beautiful dog and I hope he adjusts to the cocktail of medications. On a lighter note, I hope you someday post a photo of him nibbling on some watermelon, because that sounds like a hilarious picture.

    I haven’t listened to Muse in a very long time, but Absolution was a great album.

    Wishing you and the Hairy German all the best.

    • Thank you for finding him beautiful, Septimus. He really is quite a looker, isn’t he? Red-and-Blacks are more uncommon, but they’re my favorite because of how eye-catching their colouring is. Plus, my boy is extra plush in his coat, so he’s just like a large, walking teddybear. As for photos, I have one of His Highness eating a celery stalk with his eyes closed in bliss, but it’s not the best shot. Still, I will see about posting it next time and getting some watermelon photos as well. 🙂

      Absolution really was super, wasn’t it? Have a great weekend, Septimus, and thank you again for the kind words on my Teutonic Overlord.

  7. Roja Dove, Leila Josefowicz, Pride, and Perianal Fistulas. What a grab bag! Pride was a wonderful movie. Between laughing and crying I was a puddle. I just purchased Ambre Loup based on your review. I had the worst time deciding between that and Ambra Aurea but ultimately let price be the deciding factor.

    • Are you familiar with Leila Josefowicz? If so, I’m impressed. As for Pride, I’m glad to know someone else knows it and loved it, too. It had me yelling out loud, pumping my fist in the air at one point, and actually dancing in my living room as well. But, yes, it did have some sad parts. That was such a dark era for the gay community.

      Let me know what you think of Ambre Loup, okay? I don’t somehow associate you with the amber genre, though I may be mistaken. You just don’t seem like a die-hard amber person, I mean. In any event, I hope you like it. I’ll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

      • I’m just discovering the amber realm. Don’t forget I got Kalemat Amber oil because of you. As to my familiarity with Josefowicz, I have been a professional opera singer for many decades and I know my music/ians.

  8. First off, I am so sorry about Zola. Having an ailing pet is so so difficult and heartbreaking.

    And since you’ve asked questions, I’ll answer: Yes, I’m quite tempted by Acorn! But, really, I feel I have enough viewing options with Amazon Prime and Netflix. Still. . .I love both British and Australian television.

    The nonsense in the Telegraph article makes my blood boil, too, but y’know? Any time one is expert on *anything* one discovers that it is written about or depicted quite badly and/or inaccurately. I remember taking an ornithology course and the professor said he found watching movies difficult because the bird song was almost always wrong for the place and time. And I watched a film once with a friend who shears sheep and he pointed out the flaws in the depiction of that activity. It was one of my favorite films: “The Ballad of Little Jo.”

    And thanks for reminding me about Foyle’s War. Quite enjoyed it and look forward to watching it again, and thanks for NOT giving away the end of Mad Men. It’s been hard to get online and NOT find out what happens, not that it really matters. What’s great about that show was never really the plot (imho), though it was always good. The show is terribly nostalgic for me. My oldest half brother worked for George Lois, who Don Draper’s character is supposedly somewhat based on.

    I’m enjoying the show The Code right now. Very stylish. I disliked the first episode right up until the last 15 minutes and now am hooked!

    I like gritty Westerns that aren’t typical (The Ballad of Little Jo may have started that). They are few and far between. Last week we watched “The Homeman,” which is a gorgeous but painful movie. Incredibly bleak landscapes and beautiful weathered clothing, plus madness on the frontier. . .

    ‘Nuff from me. You take care of yourself!! Thanks for the grab bag.

    • Is The Code to which you are referring the Australian series? Because I know Netflix has 2 different ones with that name. I saw the Australian one (about the hacker & journalist brothers), and really liked it. You’re completely right about the first episode not being absorbing until the final 10 minutes. I think I only got really interested in the show at the end of the 2nd one, and then it became really exciting.

      As for Acorn, I definitely think anyone who loves British/Aussie TV should check it out because 1) the first month is free; and 2) they have exclusive content not available elsewhere.

      I’ll look into The Homeman. Thank you for the tip.

      • Yes, the one about the hacker and the journalist (or “journo” as they call ’em in Australia).

        The movie is actually “The Homesman,” but y’know, I take back the recommendation. It’s not a good movie to watch when one is going through tough times. It’s a harsh and depressing film, no matter how well done and beautiful it is.

  9. Hi K, please give Zola my best wishes and a hug, too and for yourself as well. You’ve got more important things to think about and blogging can wait and we’ll always be here. 😉

    Grab Bag Round-Up is one of my favourite features of your blog…
    Even I knew Roger Dove didn’t pioneer the use of oud and I’m far from a perfume aficianado. I prefer RoHa to Roger though. I just discovered the Balenciaga Pour Homme I wore in the 90s had an “oud” note. Btw, after I went looking for Ambre Loup on Twisted Lily’s site, I spent an hour going through all of the perfume houses I hadn’t heard of and got myself into trouble because my “samples” grew disproportionately in size compared to what I’d like it to be.

    Acorn TV sounds right up my alley. I miss BBC programmes since I don’t watch TV & need to get back to it. I’ve so much catching up to do. I am an Anglophile at heart. And after saying I’m an Anglophile, I wanted to say that I saw The Charlie Daniels Band perform at a country fair when I was in my teens. Something I will never admit to doing. LoL They (he) were very good though. Pablo Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy sounds incredible. I envy anyone who can master an instrument and play like a genius. I had piano lessons but haven’t practiced for years. I can’t believe you mentioned the soundtrack to Pride because last week I purchased Bronski Beat Age of Consent Deluxe 2 CD Edition that contains the original songs including ‘Why’,’Smalltown Boy’, and lots of re-mixes. Also has ‘I Feel Love’ that features Marc Almond from Soft Cell. Almond’s new CD sounds pretty good. Marc Almond almost died in a motorcycle accident about 10 years ago. Anyway, 80s Brit Punk, New Wave, Goth is my specialty.
    After watching Mockingjay Part 1, The Hanging Tree song got stuck in my head too. Haha. That was one of the highlights of the movie indeed.

    OK dear..I’ve babbled on enough though I could go on forever…take good care of yourself! Zola likes alot of my favourite foods like watermelon and pears although I have tasted dog food, as a child, and don’t blame him for preferring melons and celery. :/

    • Thank you for letting me know about the Bronski Beat Deluxe CD, and how it has remixes. I’d be interested in that, since I have other Bronski Beat CDs but only with singles. I used to have a fantastic vinyl of “Hit That Perfect Beat” with lots of extended versions, so I’d enjoy something like that in CD form, along with the Sommerville/Marc Almond collaboration on “I Feel Love.” So, I’ll definitely look up the CD, Don.

      If you are an Anglophile, you really must look into Acorn TV and just consider giving it a test shot!

      • You triggered my memory with “Hit That Perfect Beat” because I’m pretty sure I have that on vinyl with my vinyl collection at my dad’s. Back in the 80s I loved buying remixes of so many Brit bands. I have many New Order remixes. Did you like The Communards? Deepdiscount is where I’ve been having luck finding
        new, digitally re-mastered cds from what I had on cassette and vinyl. I have neighbors so I have to keep J. Sommerville’s vocals at a happy medium. Can you believe I have no Rammstein? I love Till Lindemann. I will give Acorn a try. Thanks

  10. Dear Kafka, I am very sorry to read Zola is ill. Going through a period of illness with a dear pet can be really hard I know from personal experience with my previous ancient cat, Philippe. Take care, both of you !

    Loved Reading about Acorn, we do not have it in Europe. Would love to watch Morse again. Hope you find Some joy in watching series on Acorn THE coming time.

    Would love to see Zola eating a pear, btw 🙂

    • I’m sorry to hear about Philippe, Esperanza. You’re right, it’s horrible to see them suffering and feeling helpless.

      I’ll have to take photos of Zola with a whole host of his favorite foods. He’s going to think me even more insane with the camera than he already does. 😀

  11. I’m so sorry you and Zola (a fantastic name for a fantastic dog, by the way!) have to go through this. I’m keeping you both in my thoughts and sending you lots of love and well-wishes for his recovery.

  12. Dear K & Z
    I was raised with German Shepard herders. My uncle had a couple- Copper and Sheba, whom he refused to neuter, so they had a litter about once a year. We gave many to good homes, and we always kept at least one. So the troupe slowly grew. One year a pair of albino GSD’s popped out. Very sickly, and my father and I nursed them for three months until they got their sea legs. Then a rich Gulf Arab bought them. The only part that made that ok for me was seeing the vast terrain they would get to roam (we were living in the Middle East then – from what I have gathered from your comments, I too lived across 3 continents and several cities before turning 21).
    One year, the runt of the litter was this chubby chubby tiny pup. When his siblings were already running around the place, he would go down stairs by sitting, leaning forwards, pushing off with his front paws, launching onto the next step and landing on his bum. He would bump down the whole way like that. I named him Poco (from musical notation) and he was mine. He passed long ago, and I haven’t had the heart for another GSD since. I had a pair of Belgian Shepherds with a partner much later, one of which would only listen to me. Living in Canada at that point and when it was cold I would ask Yogi to come warm my feet. He would lay across my feet while I would study for hours, I would tickle him in return. At our break up we didn’t want to split up the brothers so my ex got custody.
    Losing an animal companion is traumatizing. I still dream of my two dogs, and find it hard to pet others on bad days. I sincerely hope that the medications work for Zola. I think I am echoing everyone here when I say that we wouldn’t mind a two sentence update about how you and Zola are doing in lieu of any other blog entry, when it makes sense to you.
    On another note: I was surprised to enjoy The Avengers’ darkness and nihilism. But if what you need is a laugh, Acorn might have the following old British TV series: Faulty Towers, Mind your language, old Dr Who, Black Adder or ‘Allo ‘Allo.

    • How utterly fantastic that there is another GSD person here! You and Hamamelis are the only ones, and I sorely need the company amidst all the cat lovers. 😉 lol. Poco sounds ADORABLE!!!!! And Yogi (love the name) sounds so sweet and cuddly. People simply don’t realise what lapdogs GSDs are. They’re greater lapdogs than all the other breeds I’ve had (and I’ve had over 20 dogs since childhood, including one Belgian shepherd), and certainly more willing to cuddle than the cats that I’ve had.

      I was sorry to hear, though, about Yogi going with your ex. I completely understand your reasons, and it was very kind of you to put the two brothers’ best interests first, but still… how awful. You poor, poor thing. Are you certain that you can’t bear the thought of ever having another one? It might mend the broken heart?

      Are you on Facebook, by the way? I don’t ask for myself, but because I thought you might enjoy seeing photos of the Alta-Tolhaus GSD pups that I’ve lusted over for almost a year now: Their red-and-blacks are stunning to me, and raised in a careful, family-oriented fashion that I really like. If I were ever to get another pup, it would be from them, though I think they require you to fly up there and meet them in person before they’re willing to sell you one of their pups. (I like that and what it indicates about them as a breeder, but it is a royal pain in the tush nonetheless.)

      As for Acorn, they don’t have any of those series, oddly enough, but they do have other comedies like Pie in the Sky which is fun. Okay, that’s not technically a pure comedy. I must say, I blinked at someone mentioning ‘Allo ‘Allo. I LOVED THAT SHOW!!!! It was a huge family thing with my parents and me at one point, and so it has extra meaning for me beyond just how funny it was. Generally, I’m not one for British comedies, but that was a huge exception. Otherwise, I tend to go for very sardonic, wry or black humour which usually comes up in dramas instead.

      It’s so good to have another GSD person here! I’m so glad you decided to stop lurking, and finally began commenting!

  13. Sending love to your teutonic overloard! I feel for you deeply. I’m an animal lover at heart and consider my furry to be my daughter and light even after she has been gone for many years now.

  14. I feel really sorry for what Zola is suffering. I sincerely hope that he’ll get better. Best wishes for both of you!

  15. I am so sorry your poor gorgeous dog is so unwell, and that you are both suffering.

    I recently binged on a rewatch of Foyle’s War–which, apart from Kitchin’s early episode channeling of his Prince Charles impression, I love. Particularly Honeysuckle Weeks.

    You are quite right to class the Torygraph with the Mail–it’s the same, right down to its loathing of immigrants, fascination with grisly murders, and its endless hysterical health-cure-or-cause stories. It just owns a better dictionary, is friends with bank managers, wears a suit and has a deeply etched disapproving sneer.

  16. Dear Kafka, you made me smile and nearly cry all in one post. I can relate to the nibbling of fruits as my male Dobie nibbles oranges, while my female Dobie gobbles them up greedily. My heart breaks for you going through this medical crisis and I can only hope Zola comes through it healthy and with his spirit in tact. Based on the photos you’ve posted, he appears to have a beautiful little spirit about him; in no small part to you, I’m sure.

  17. Thank you for the cookbook recommendation, that sounds great. I’ve been much more into cooking (and trying out new things) so I will definitely give this one a try.
    Btw, I’ve been listening to the Hanging Tree a lot lately. 🙂 I love that song.

    My weekend wasn’t the best but at least I got a race in it so that was good (although I really hate my pics that always get tagged later). 😀
    Funny thing, Eurovision wasn’t aired in Croatia as we didn’t have a participant this year so our national television obviously concluded no one would be interested in watching it (idiots).

    Hope your hairy German recovers to the best of his ability.

  18. Dear Kafkaesque, I am so sorry to hear about your dear boy’s health problems. It sounds excruciating for both Zola and for you. Sending healing thoughts your way. I suffered through some tough times with my last Italian greyhound with injuries and illnesses. It is so hard to know that this beautiful loving creature who shares your life is suffering. But they know we love them and we are doing our best. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

    I had a fabulous trip, adored Barcelona, the food, the people and we enjoyed the transAtlantic cruise. Then 4 days after we got back I fainted from low blood pressure and broke my leg in 3 places. Seriously?? How do these things happen to me? I had to have surgery and just got out of the rehab hospital. So I have lots of time to send healing energy to the sweet German! We can recuperate together.

  19. So sorry to hear about your beautiful boy’s poor health – we love our pets as if they were our children – in fact sometimes they are closer to us than our children! But I wish you much love, healing light and love from this part of our little planet. Katie from Wales xxx

  20. Kafkaesque, it’s heartbreaking to hear about The Hairy German’s condition. Wishing much comfort and love to you both.

    I enjoyed reading your grab bag — and learning that Roja Dove is apparently God. He probably invented perfume. 🙂

  21. Dear Kafka, so sad to hear about the health struggles of the Hairy German. Big hugs to him, a tender scratch on his ears ( our 2 German Shepherds love those little moments) and all the strength to You to be there for him!

  22. Dearest Kafa, Sorry to hear about The Hairy German’s health issues and the stress it has put through his mama. I am sending healing thoughts your way. I don’t know how you do it but you are at your A game!

  23. I’m so sorry about Zola’s poor health. I hope the medical treatments help. And don’t worry about the blog.

    While I don’t subscribe to Acorn TV, it’s an embarrassment of riches for Brit TV. I do watch “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”, an Aussie TV show, rather obsessively, which by the way I recommend as a wonderful escape.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Zola.

  24. So sorry to hear about your baby’s health problems. I’ve been thru the wringer with my cats from time to time. The hard times are so hard, but we would never give up the joys in order to miss the bad days, would we?

    I LOVE MUSE. Really, really loud :^)

    Hope perfume can bring you some pleasures in this difficult time.

  25. I am so sorry to hear about Zola’s problems. I have a Miniature Schnauzer that completely rules my life and I know what a worry it is when they get sick.

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