Posted in Social Issues

The year to end all years

As I sit and try to think about what to post on to close out the year,. I got to thinking about all the bad things we were scared with this year, all the things that were wrong, that were going to ruin life as we know it.

And yet here we are, and things, while promising to change, are in most ways just as they have been.

And that is as it should be. Too many people, politicians, media, progressives and reactionaries, that know what is best for all of us, tried to scare us with what was wrong, micro aggression, how tyranny was in the hands of their foes.

All that potential is there. But the real line is the one of sanity that most of us lived this year. Most of us rejected the hype and hyperbole, and lived lives of good intent.

In the political realm, the best voice of reason was Libertarian — which is probably why they lost — not enough excitement or hype. Yet that libertarian view of letting people live continues to be the undercurrent even of those reacting to the progressive agenda. As long as they don’t forget and become progressives of a different sort we have a chance to regain balance and sanity.

So, don’t forget to live life, ordinary, full life, as the best answer to the scare and fear mongers. Oppose them by laughing in their faces and living full rich lives contrary to their ideals, yet full of love and compassion for all the human beings within any orbit you have and come in contact with.

Happy New Year!

Posted in Reviews

Singin’ in the Rain

And other thoughts spurred by Debbie Reynolds (and Carrie Fisher)

Debbie Reynolds Picture

It is interesting that something that comes early in one’s career might mark it. Both Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher found success early in iconic pictures that made them well-known.

Such success is usually something thought of as being part of the the crowning achievement of a career, the “swan song”. as it were. And for many people an early success does lead to a “swan song” that some people never recover from.

Yet for Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ in the Rain) and Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) didn’t rest on their early works. While I admit I don’t know either one of them for anything but those signature works, a review of their lives on IMDB or the articles published these past few days about them shows and impressive opus of work. Neither of them escaped their early success, but neither did they perish by it either. Both became very productive artists in multiple types of endeavours.

And so tonight I watch Singin’ in the Rain in memory of an artist that made the most of the life given her, and thus gave to us all. Just as Monday I watched Rogue One and the cameo of Princess Leia with its homage to the artist that brought that character into our lives and thus shaped our culture through the Star Wars Saga.

The Paley Center For Media & TCM Present Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Memorabilia Exhibit Reception

Posted in Music

#153: What If It Were Today?

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


Jesus is coming ot earth again — What if it were today?

Coming in power and love to reign — What if it were today?

Coming to claim His chosen Bride, All the redeemed and purified.

Over this whole earth scattered wide — What if it were today?


Glory, glory! Joy to my heat ’twill bring,

Glory, glory,! When we shall crown Him King;

Glory, glory! Haste to prepare the way —

Glory, glory! Jesus will come some day.


Satan’s dominion will then be o’er — O that it were today!

Sorrow and sighing shall be no more — O that it were today!

Then shall the dead in Christ arise, Caught up to meet Him in the skies,

When shall these glories meet our eyes? What if it were today?


Faithful and true would He find us here If He should come today?

Watching in gladness and not in fear, If He should come today?

Signs of His coming multiply, Morning light breaks in eastern sky;

Watch, for the time is drawing nigh — What if it were today?



Posted in Reviews

Carrie Fisher: Her Own Words

Today’s post is late. Today’s post is not original to me. Instead it is a note to Carrie Fisher in her own words.  Taken from her own website with her own lighthearted yet frank take on herself:

don’t remember much about things like the order we shot scenes in or who I got to know well first. Nor did anyone mention that one day I would be called upon to remember any of this long-ago experience. That one day soon, and then for all the days after that, information about Star Wars would be considered desirable in the extreme. That there would be an insatiable appetite for it, as if it were food in a worldwide famine.

Everywhere I looked, things were new. British crew: new. The way I was treated: new. The feeling that so many things were possible it was difficult to name them, or focus on them, for long: very new.

I read the dialogue and it was impossible. On my first day I had a scene with Peter Cushing, who played Governor Tarkin. This is the scene when I was supposed to say, “I thought I recognized your foul stench when I arrived on board.” Who talks like that, except maybe a pirate in the seventeenth century? I looked at it and thought it should be said more like, “Hey, Governor Tarkin, I knew I’d see you here. When I got on board this ship I thought, My God! What is that smell? It’s gotta be Governor Tarkin. Everyone knows that the guy smells like a wheel of cheese that someone found in their car after seven weeks!” So I did it like that, more sardonic than emotional. Fearless and like an actual human, but not serious. Ironic. Some chick from Long Island who’s not scared of you or anyone you might know.

And this was when George gave me the only direction that I ever received from him other than his usual suggestion to make everything you’re saying “faster” or “more intense.” He took me aside and in a very solemn voice told me, “This is a very big deal for Leia. Huge. I mean, her planet is about to get blown up by these guys. And that means everything that she knows is gonna be gone forever. So you’re very upset. She is very upset.”

I listened carefully because I was the one with most of the earnest lines, and prior to this I didn’t know whether I was going to have to deliver them earnestly. When you watch the movie, it turns out that the voice I used when I was upset was vaguely British, and my not-upset voice is less British.

Excerpt from The Princess Diarist

Posted in Fitness

Fitness Update: Exercise with broken bones

Well, the significant spill from my bicycle that I mentioned on a previous post has mostly healed up. The swelling on the left hand went down, but a nagging pain in the pinky bone within the palm, and the pinky itself, persisted, so I went to the doctor Friday. Turns out the pinky bone in the hand fractured. So now I have a splint on that side of the hand. Four weeks if all goes well.

So how do I exercise? Well, I have two fingers I can type with on the hand, and can still run and ride a bike. I take the splint off to shower and wash hands, but I am sure swimming is out. The purpose of the splint is to keep the side of the hand from getting bumped. The bone hadn’t splayed or moved, so we want it to stay put while it heals instead of getting moved out of place. Swimming has too many chances to hit the wall — and I certainly won’t wear the splint while swimming.

So I still need to finish some of my 2016 goals, which I think I can do, but will probably get a slow start on 2017 goals. And I have a mile race on Jan. 14 that I will probably be running with a splint. Interesting. Anyone with experience to give me encouragement or caution?

Posted in Music

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Yesterday I celebrated the frivolity of Christmas as underrated by the religiously zealous. But today is Christmas, and so I feel the need to reflect on the simplicity and profundity of the Incarnation. And the Perfect Carol seems the perfect way today (Thank you Ponder Anew!)

Of the Father’s love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.


Posted in Social Issues

The Frivolity of Christmas

Today, a short meditation:

Some people frown upon all the frivolity of Christmas, the stuff that doesn’t obviously point to Christ, or remember the Nativity. I agree that when it comes to specific church observances, we need to ensure that Christ is obviously there, and our theology is sound. Yet even there, I think many people miss how that frivolity IS a core element of the theology.

To elucidate my point I bring the below quote from Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton:

Christianity is the only frame which has preserved the pleasure of Paganism. We might fancy some children playing on the flat grassy top of some tall island in the sea. So long as there was a wall round the cliff’s edge they could fling themselves into every frantic game and make the place the noisiest of nurseries. But the walls were knocked down, leaving the naked peril of the precipice. They did not fall over; but when their friends returned to them they were all huddled in terror in the centre of the island; and their song had ceased.

What the people who object to the frivolity forget, is that Christ came as Emmanuel to bring life back to us, in all its shapes, in the totality of our experience, to  make us whole, the whole man — which includes joy and frivolity.

So lets not lose Christ in Christmas, but lets also see him in the frivolity His life makes possible.

Posted in Music

Perfect Set of Carols

Carolers of Note performed today at the Nelson-Atkins Museum as part of their a capella  Open Call in Kirkwood Hall,  complementing the current feature exhibition Janet Cardiff: Forty-Part Motet.

As the one choosing the set list, I put together the below program of carols. The hall offered a chance to perform some of our favorite songs in a very live setting.

As I look at the set, it featured none of the theologically rich songs that Ponder Anew  featured in his blog yesterday, or the perfect carol he mentioned today. Yet in a quasi-secular way I think it picked up very important elements of the season.

I hope you enjoy this little program, and some of the links to greater expansion on them.

Merry Christmas!