Monthly Archives: February 2016

Hit the road Jacques: Virtual walking tour of Switzerland


Screenshot via

It’s about 130km (~80 miles) from Thusis to Tirano and the Canton of Graubünden and the Rhaetian Railway have come up with a pip of a way to see it. Hikers walked it while wearing hi-def video cameras and the jaunts are available for the clicking. No joke, this is an algorithm and a treadmill away from a holodeck. Visit (or click on the image), select any one of ten starting points and let the friendly ibex take you through some breathtaking scenery. All the virtues of travel without the hellish slog through the modern travel industry.  The website is exquisite, in and of itself.

17 January 2021 Update: Unfortunately, the webwandern site was built on Flash.  When the ultimate demise of Flash was announced a couple of years ago I sent multiple emails to the site contact addresses pleading with them to update to supported technologies or at least archive the site somehow.  I never received a response.  As of the turn of this year, the site is no longer accessible and barring a miracle, this treasure has been lost.

15 March 2021 Update: It’s officially dead.  The site now returns (via Google Translate):

A few years ago the Rhaetian Railway launched the website together with Graubünden Ferien  . This enabled users to go on virtual hikes in Graubünden. However, since complex technical adjustments on the site would have been necessary in the meantime, the RhB decided to no longer manage this site. 

Are you looking for a suitable hike in Graubünden? In our tour portal you will find a wide variety of hikes, bike tours, cross-country skiing trails, toboggan runs and much more. 

To the tour portal


Sawing Stravinsky

When I lived in the Bay Area eons ago, I used to listen regularly to classical radio stations KDFC and KKHI. The former signed off every midnight with an instrumental transcription (one of many) of Stravinsky’s Pastorale. I often dozed off just as this heady mix of string and winds faded out. Here are two renditions: The first plays it as I remember it. The second features the late David Weiss, retired principal oboist of the LA Phil, on musical saw. I once attended a talk Mr. Weiss gave on his avocation and even tried it as part of the audience participation. The theremin-like sound of this deceptively simple instrument color the piece dramatically.

Nice Work if You Can Get It: ‘Lear’ at City Garage

Playwright Young Jean Lee has a Guggenheim, two Obies, a couple of Duke Foundation awards, a basketful of government and private grants, multiple commissions, a screenplay, a Berkeley degree, and her own theatre company whose mission is to produce the work of Young Jean Lee.

God help us. for details of her take on King Lear

Backyard Treasures: Western Museum of Flight’s speaker series

Who knew that The Western Museum of Flight has a speaker series and that the Peninsula Seniors have made many of these talks available for all to see? I routinely search for things like this and last night stumbled across these by accident. Aircraft buffs owe both organizations a big vote of thanks. And, there are plenty more gems where these came from.