Monthly Archives: November 2010

Lite music

There is Easy Listening and then there is even lighter music. We had some of that ‘ultralite’ stuff in the background at one of our monthly Swedish meetings. I know it will sound extremely nerdy if I say it was June 1994, but I happen to remember it. It was the first and only time at the house of the Pharmacist, and the proximity to Midsummer meant she had half a dozen types of pickled herring on offer, instead of the usual sandwiches and cake.

Homemade pickled herring. Naturally. I was going to get the recipes off her. Never did.

Anyway, she had music on, a CD collection of Svensktopp music, which is the Swedish style chart music we used to like back in the 1960s. More easy listening than pop, and always with Swedish lyrics. You can dislike it as much as you want, but I used to quite like it, and hearing the collected best tracks 25 years on in exile felt good.

I knew Mother-of-witch would never be capable of going into a record shop and ask for it and get it right, so I called Pippi and asked her to get the CDs for me. She made disparaging noises about my lack of taste, but promised to have a go.

A little later she called me back and said how she’d told her sister in Norway about my lite request, expecting her to make understanding noises. Instead her sister said that yes, she’d quite like that, too. Clearly something about life in exile makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

Pippi came to visit me in early September that year, so delivered the purchase. She went off to the Lake District for a few days before returning. In that short time we’d had the news that the Pharmacist and her husband had died very dramatically (it was all over the front pages of the Sunday broadsheets). That’s why I remember when it was, and that’s why there never was a pickled herring recipe.

And I listen to those CDs often, and every time I think to myself that the Pharmacist knew what she was doing. It is good music.

Ducky was here

And while we’re on the subject of age, here is a clip of David McCallum with Alan Titchmarsh, just the other week. He admitted to being 77. David, not Alan. Nice figure, 77. Nice David, too.

Thanks to mchnelson, the greatest of NCIS fans who keeps track of everything.

Happy Birthday to Cote, Brian and Sean

They’re awfully young, those NCIS actors. Cote de Pablo is a mere 31 today, and Brian Dietzen will be 33 on Sunday, nicely paving the way for Sean Murray who is 33 on Monday.

Actually, I remember thinking that David McCallum was ancient when he was 33. Whereas now he feels considerably less so.

Oh well, it must just be me.

And I could have some cake, if there’s any going.

NCIS – Broken Arrow

Junior DiNozzo

Back in season three DiNozzo might have found a ‘Gibbs who is nice’ disturbing, but I think it’s almost more disturbing with a nice and responsible DiNozzo. Junior, that is. Having DiNozzo Senior around makes for good quotes and plenty of good stills. I’m not sure I like him much, but Sr has an interesting effect on Junior. And should we assume it was a period of him being broke that was behind ‘junior getting expelled from boarding school’?

DiNozzo Sr and Ziva

2 x Di Nozzo

Fred and Vance

Ziva, Fred, DiNozzo Sr and Abby

DiNozzo Sr and Jr, McGee and Ziva

Ziva's passport

Gibbs knows Sr to be ‘just enough of a conman to be able to pull it off’ when he enlists his help in touching Ziva up. Well, no that wasn’t the job description, but he does anyway. And as Jr finds to his dismay, Dad’s cashmere suit is ‘really soft’. I should think so, when he runs up a bill of $9000 in the service of NCIS.

Poor Fred who has to pay out isn’t impressed, but Director Vance leaves him no opportunity to enquire more. But Fred does have ‘a serious problem with Anthony DiNozzo’, a man ‘absolutely out of control’. Though as Gibbs said to him earlier, ‘I guess you haven’t got the bill for the flowers yet?’ when Sr sends Ziva flowers.

Considering Ziva and Abby can be so strict with poor Junior, it’s almost a bit much that they let Senior get away with his charmer’s ways, but they do. ‘Tired isn’t a word in his vocabulary.’ He does chat up women quite actively for someone his age. And the Senior James Bond moment is pretty good stuff, letting him ask ‘Junior can I borrow your handcuffs?’ I suspect he was almost as surprised as we were, that he was able to pull it off.

Ziva, who really ‘is a weapon’ has finally got her American passport. That might be a good thing, seeing as it’s the turn of her Daddy next week.

Personally I think $9000 was pretty cheap for the services rendered. Most temporary experts called in would charge a lot more. And Dad gets to wear the cashmere outfit again, I hope. Maybe when Mr Trump is forced to invite him to something?

Senior and Junior DiNozzos

I bet Eli David never went fishing with either Ziva or Ari.

(Photos © CBS)

NCIS – Short Fuse

Times have been busy at Witch Towers, and I’m only now getting round to some watched but not yet blogged-about episodes of season 8. Trying to keep track of what the Resident IT Consultant has watched or not is a major feat in itself but I think we can safely say it’s the threes, both of big brother NCIS and of LA.


Abby talked to the evidence, and she wore a great outfit. And was that the first use of ‘the duckpond’ for autopsy? She’s like me. She doesn’t work well with people hanging over her, so Palmer had to go.

Ducky and Palmer

Good thing he went, as he was needed to scratch Ducky’s nose.

3 x Di Nozzo

DiNozzo fancied himself as cover boy for NCIS. As if that would ever happen!

Gibbs ironing


But it was the sheer – and shared – domesticity of Gibbs and Fornell that carried this episode. Whether eating ‘atomic’ lamb curry on a two-for coupon, or Fornell’s home made pasta puttanesca, those two get on better together than they do with anyone else.

Gibbs doing the ironing in front of a western on television is quite something. Nice to see he has breakfast cereal in the house for when the lamb curry turns out to be as bad as it was supposed to be.

And, oh yes, there was a plotline in this episode, too. ‘Cute bomb tech’ as Michael Weatherly put it earlier, with exploding bombs and an FBI lover. But even the cover boy story was more fun. And that’s as it should be.


(Photos © CBS)

Living art

Can someone please tell me what’s wrong with saying ‘I know what I like’? As it refers to art, anyway. To me it’s perfectly logical. I do know what I like, and also what I don’t. A piece of art becomes no more pleasant to look at because it’s reckoned by experts to be ‘good’. Likewise, I can enjoy a ‘poor’ amateur painting.

I recently came across the idea that one should buy art by living artists, and I can sort of see the argument in that. Though I have to admit to having my walls covered in paintings by the amateur, and now sadly dead, Mother-of-witch. I love her paintings because they mean something to me.

Other paintings on our walls are favourites inherited from relatives. It feels good to be surrounded by stuff I always used to like. Again, most of it is not especially valuable.

One ‘proper’ artist whose pictures I love is Thomas Frisk. He is still working and even his name suggests good health. Visiting his studio can be dangerous to the bank balance however, and I have succumbed several times.

Thomas Frisk

Around 35 years ago I saw a large oil painting of his at an art gallery near where I lived, and I still remember it. It was a painting of a toilet. I mentioned this to Thomas more recently at another exhibition, and he told me how his mother had made some less complimentary comment about having a son who thought toilets were art. Then he hunted out what he thought was the offending article, except his fondness for toilets appears to mean he has painted lots of them. It wasn’t the same, but I liked this one too. So I bought it.

Most of Thomas’s paintings are so large that they could never enter our house. It’s not because our walls are full. (They are though.) It’s because Thomas often does oils so large that they won’t fit on a domestic wall. Doesn’t stop me from wanting them, however. And the day I find myself living in a palace I will know where to go for pictures.

Thomas Frisk

This little grey number is quite small, and I’m not sure why I like it. But I do. It’s a picture of a desk, which hangs close to our desks. Desks hanging together, so to speak.

The blue picture is an unusual mix of oil and ceramics. It was the first one I noticed when entering Thomas’s studio, and the one I kept coming back to after looking at everything else. Love at first sight?

Thomas Frisk

(Sorry about the leaf!)

New girl in NCIS: Los Angeles

Renée Felice Smith as Nell

It’s funny, but I greeted the news that Renée Felice Smith is joining NCIS: Los Angeles permanently as Nell Jones, Eric’s personal sidekick, as something positive. Then I turned to various forums and found that at least half of viewers hate her.

I know it’s upsetting when a favourite character goes, and most are assuming Nell is replacing Nate. It certainly looks like it. I don’t know whether CBS do audits to see who the fans like and don’t like, and the losers have to leave. But it wouldn’t surprise me.

They got rid of Macy even before series one proper started. That was because viewers felt she wasn’t right. And whereas I liked her, I think Hetty is more right. And Dom went halfway through series one, only to return to be got rid of again. They tested Deeks before deciding on Dom’s fate, and we appear to like Deeks better.

Now we have seen Nate go off to somewhere, and Nell turned up a little later. The fact that she’s now permanent doesn’t rule out a return for Nate. But I’d say it gets more unlikely. We can have lots of characters in a show, but ultimately they can only afford to pay for so many actors.

Other than that, I have to say how much better I’m finding NCIS: L A to be this season. The weeks are running by me at great speed and I won’t cover every episode here. Suffice it to say that the other week when I felt big brother NCIS was short on humour, that L A had plenty to offer.