Connecting Dots

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

Most of the time whenever I am driving somewhere in the car I listen to The New Classical music station and almost always it will be between 10 and 3 p.m. when the program is hosted by Daniel Vnukowski, a world-class concert pianist in his own right. For reasons known only to the Poles, the V in Vnukowski is silent. If I can get a grant from the government I will fly to Warsaw and straighten them out. Come to think about it, Daniel was born in Windsor. So if I can get a gasoline grant I will drive and listen to The New Classical Music all the way. I sure as hell won’t be able to go without some sort of financial assistance.

Apparently I have trouble with foreign names. They have another host on the station, Kathleen Kajioka. I thought it was Kathleen Tapioca and every time I heard her name I went looking for a spoon. Maybe I better get my hearing aids checked.

One day a man called into Daniel requesting a particular piece of music and he wanted it dedicated to his grandson who was getting married that weekend. In the chit-chat that followed the caller happened to mention he had two more grandchildren getting married this summer. Daniel asked him how many grandchildren he had and was stunned when the caller said 58. That led to how many kids he and his wife had and he said 11. If their grandchildren are as prolific (see: horny) as the rest of the family they may be the start of a new dynasty.

And that brings me to the Wallace side of my family. My grandmother, my mother’s mother, had 11 children, her oldest daughter had 10 and her oldest daughter (she was the one my father used to say never got out of bed) had 12. I was going to go on from there and count all my cousins but my calculator exploded. That side of the family is from the Tweed area, near Belleville. A team of male scientists have been studying the lakes and streams in that part of the province for close to 70 years to see if some algae is present in the water that can impregnate a woman who just happens to walk by. The investigation began with members of both sexes but that was discontinued because – well, I’m sure you can figure it out. Fortunately most of my grandmother’s original eleven kids moved to less fertile areas of the country, a good thing or we would all be overrun with them.

Now back to The New Classical Music Station. Something odd has happened to the transmission system lately. I normally listen to their Collingwood broadcast at 102.9 FM, or if I am driving south, 96.3 out of Toronto. The hosts are the same. For some reason one broadcast is a second or so behind the other but it doesn’t matter since the program is the same. There are different commercials but not that many and besides who listens commercials.

The other day, I was in Belleville and found the station at 103.1, which is broadcast from Cobourg. I listened all the way to Beaverton before it began to break up. From there to Orillia I had to flip back and forth from 96.3 and 102.9 and neither one worked all that well. I suspect the problem is being caused by Doug Ford who probably has a tin ear and listens to hippy-hop, or God forbid, rap.

I’m not sure just when I switched to classical music, but I do know why. I was at an after-rehearsal party for a Mariposa Arts Theatre play one night and the host put on Luciano Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma. I was hooked. I bought a Three Tenors’ CD from PBS a week later, a bit of a mistake since I am now on their e-mail list and apparently their sole supporter. I like a lot of different music genres although I prefer the big band stuff from the 30 and 40s, especially Peter York’s orchestra, which features the best tenor sax player who ever lived, Freddy Gardner. I know, I know, most of you youngsters never heard of him. Your loss!

But for the past couple of years I have been listening to classical music almost exclusively whenever I’m in the car, which I’m sure annoys my passengers all to hell. Whenever I drive somewhere with my friend, Gary, he climbs into the trunk.

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