Posted in Music

#112: Blessed Redeemer

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Up Calv’ry’s mountain, one dreadful morn,

Walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn;

Facing for sinners death on the cross,

That He might save them from endless loss.


Blessed Redeemer, precious Redeemer! 

Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree,

Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading —

Blind and unheeding — dying for me!


“Father, forgive them!” thus did He pray,

E’en while His lifeblood flowed fast away;

Praying for sinners while in such woe —

No one but Jesus ever loved so.



O how I love Him, Savior and Friend!

How can  my praises ever find end!

Thru years unnumbered on heaven’s shore,

My tongue shall praise Him forevermore.



Posted in Reviews, Social Issues

Hugos: Voting Complete

Well, I did it, I got through all the Hugo nomination categories, reviewed each one and put in my vote for what I thought were the best. I did it with no appeal to the No Award category. Sorry, I just feel that most uses of that category show one to be entirely too stuck up. It needs to be used, rarely, deliberately, and with serious reservation, with one still wondering if maybe you are missing something in the work that made it good enough for others to nominate.

I had intended to do a thorough read of each category’s works, and made a good start on it, commented here on the blog about several of them. But you will note that I wasn’t able to blog about most of them.  By the end I was reading and skimming and seeing which items hit me as enjoyable and intriguing, and which just failed to capture my attention.

Some of the categories interested me more. Some of them I need to go back and finish works I skimmed, others I won’t take another look at. But I still feel I did my duty to the SFF world by seriously looking over the works and forming an opinion based on actual attempts to interact with and enjoy the works.  Would I have picked them up off a shelf, would I have finished them if I wasn’t reading them for the Hugos, and would I have short-changed them by not reading them?

The voting closes today, and in August at the convention we will find out who won.  By August I won’t remember for most of the categories which ones I actually voted for, though a few of the categories I definitely remember and will be curious to find out who actually won.

So I think this completes my Hugo-related postings until the week of the convention. I am intending to suspend my regularly-scheduled blogs that week to post daily updates on the convention and what I saw and experienced as a first-time convention-goer. Hopefully it is organized and interesting to my readers, and not disconnected and confusing.

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized


Starlight Theatre is having a run of the musical “If/Then” this week.  We went and saw it Tuesday night, the opening night.

We began the evening with the Best of Broadway Applause dinner club. For once there was nothing to comment on, a little slow getting us our drinks at the beginning, but the food and service were good — the Waldorf salad was what I thought one should be this time, too. My lingering observation is that they seem to have a small crowd dining, fewer than when they were catered by area restaurants. They still need to build more momentum.

Then came the show. The concept was an interesting one. Woman moves back to NYC after leaving her husband of a decade, meets two friends, and then we see what happens when she follows two different paths, based on the recommends of the two friends.

To follow which IF you were getting, one role wore glasses, the other didn’t. Even then it got confusing, and there were a couple of scenes where the glasses weren’t correct.

The plot and songs elicited some good laughs from us, but didn’t leave us with any tunes to sing. This is one of those set in NYC musicals where NYC is the center of the world, is the world, and the character’s struggle is paramount, and they have all these blasty ballad songs about their struggles and strivings that are like all the other shows with the blasty ballads that laud the struggle of the main character.

Beyond that, the whole plot revolves around cultural assumptions that just don’t ring true to me from “fly-over” country, assumptions about NYC, and assumptions about how relationships work, the role of women and men, etc. It was enjoyable, but I couldn’t avoid recognizing the underlying PC pablum of the plot.

So it was worth a watch, excellent plot construction based on the initial premise of life choices, but ultimately the choices were all fairytales instead of ones that rang true to life. I don’t need to go back and see it again.

Posted in Music, Uncategorized

#111: What Will You Do with Jesus?

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall —

Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all:

Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call!

What will you do with Jesus?


What will you do with Jesus?

Neutral you cannot be;

Some day your heart will be asking,

“What will He do with me?”


Jesus is standing on trial still —

You can be false to Him if you will,

You can be faithful thru good or ill:

What will you do with Jesus?



Will you evade Him as Pilate tried?

Or will you choose Him, what-e’el bedite?

Vainly you struggle from Him to hide:

What will you do with Jesus?



Will you, like Peter, your Lord deny?

Or will you scorn from His foes to fly,

Daring for Jesus to live or die?

What will you do with Jesus?



“Jesus, I give Thee my heart today!

Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,

Gladly obeying Thee!” will you say,

This will I do with Jesus?



Posted in Fitness, Uncategorized

Fitness Update: Heat

This week in fitness had one main theme: Heat.

We have been having a heatwave here in the midwest, with triple digits visiting us in both the heat index, and sometimes the actual temperature.

What does this mean for fitness? Well, for  many people it means they cancel it. For others they just push through it. My personal perspective is that neither is the correct view.

To cancel  means you give up or take a hiatus. When you push through, you are ignoring the conditions. Ignoring the situation is never a good thing.

So what is the option I chose — to relax and go with the flow. Now relax doesn’t mean do anything. I could be relaxed and going with the flow while running a half marathon. It means being aware of yourself and the conditions, and doing activity suitable to both of them.

BTW, I didn’t run a half marathon last week.

What I did was run a 5K, bike several miles, including working commutes and a 20-mile leisure excursion on Saturday, and swim laps in the Caribbean Cooler at Oceans of Fun.

What did change was the tempo. My average speed on the bicycle came down 1-2 mph. My 5K run was close but just a bit slower than normal. I have no timing on the lap swim, but I think it was slower as well.

The human body is designed to adapt to many extremes of heat and cold. We need to watch things like heat exhaustion and frostbite, but within that range the body is able to relax and adapt and perform admirably. So instead of letting temperature and moisture changes get us out of sorts, enjoy them, enjoy the variety, and pay attention to your body to let it do the things it has been naturally programmed to do.

Posted in Music

#110: Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

When I started typing the words to this song, I was expecting a different tune. But that is because I was thinking of At the Cross (#129) which has a chorus added to these words.


Alas! and did my Savior bleed?

And did my Sov’reign die?

Would He devote that sacred head

For such a worm as I?


Was it for crimes that I have done

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! grace unknown!

And love beyond degree.


Well might the sun in darkness hide

And shut his glories in,

When Christ, the mighty Maker, died

For man the creature’s sin.


But drops of grief can ne’er repay

The debt of love I owe;

Here, Lord, I give myself away —

‘Tis all that I can do.


Posted in Church, Politics

Ordain –A word study

I was, for whatever reason, singing the Preamble song from Schoolhouse Rock earlier this weak, when my mind pinged on the word Ordain in the Preamble. I had never noticed it before, and I started wondering why the word was used, and what it meant in that context.  See the Preamble below:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

My most common association with Ordain is in the religious context, where pastors and elders are ordained by a church. In that circumstance, when one is ordained it means that:

  1. The candidate meets the Biblical qualifications of the role of elder or pastor
  2. Is considered by the church leadership to be called into this ministry
  3. Is thus commissioned by the church to fulfill this responsibility

From a dictionary perspective, the word ordain means: order by virtue of superior authority; decree.

If I wrap that definition into the religious context, I see that the church councils that are ordaining a candidate are doing so based or the superior authority of God expressed through their church hierarchy.

So WHY did the word ordain get put into the preamble, and what does it mean there? I don’t think there is any appeal to religious authority here.

Think back to the Declaration of Independence. There was a bold declaration there that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Preamble is explicitly calling upon this power of the people, those with superior authority over the government, to ordain this constitution as

  1. deemed qualified by the people to fill the role of government
  2. called by the people to fill the role of government
  3. commissioned by the people to so fulfill this responsibility for the people, under and through their authority

To me the importance of the word ordain is that the constitution wasn’t just thrown together, to be scrapped upon any whim. It was a serious construction and process by the people, by their sovereign authority, to ensure there was a suitable candidate to fulfill this role.

But just like any ordained minister can be stripped of their ordination when they go outside the calling or countermand the terms of their original calling, the people can choose to remove the authority of the government when it abuses the responsibility entrusted to it. Such a process, like the defrocking of a pastor or priest, is not easily done, and such process can cause serious dissention. But any person entrusted with authority who thinks they have the right to decide what is right even if they know it countermands the commission they have been given, isn’t being faithful to their calling, and needs to be removed.

I am sure many other thoughts follow from this, but I’ll choose to end my contemplations here. feel free to continue them in the comments.


Posted in Family, Uncategorized

A Blast of the Past #57: Around the Christmas Tree

Today’s blast of the past comes from 2004. Included are shots of Carolers of Note singing in the lobby at the State Street Towers in Downtown Kansas City, shots of trees in our house, and shots of trees in school classrooms.