Posted in Reviews

Preach or Tell a Story

I found this book on the shelves of Barnes & Nobles the last time I was in (months ago) and decided, after reading the first part, that it might be worth reading. Either it was going to be one of the worst moral preaching book possible, or it was could have a really good story.

I didn’t realize that it could be both at once.

The book is New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson. There are some really neat characters with some really good events and character development. And this book is absolutely laced with some of the worst preaching sections imaginable, based on what passes in the politically correct world for science — in the Barack Obama sense of “proven science”.

There is are a couple of stock liberal characters, as well, which unfortunately were more interesting before they began the preaching of their liberal intolerance.

So I was glad I read the book, and enjoyed the good stories. But unfortunately there are so many people out there who don’t know about science or finance, and will seriously believe the statements at face value without realizing the full extent of its fabrication.

It is excellent fiction and fantasy; the danger is too many people today believe this is some actual reflection of reality.

Posted in Music

#223: Arise, My Soul, Arise!

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


Arise, my soul, arise! Shake off thy guilty fears;

The bleeding Sacrifice Is my behalf appears:

Before the throne my Surety stands –

My name is written on His hands,

My name is written on His hands.


He ever lives above, For me to intercede;

His all-redeeming love, His pre..cious blood to plead:

His blood atoned for all our race,

And sprinkles now the throne of grace,

And sprinkles now the throne of grace.


Five bleeding wounds He bears, Received on Calvary;

They pour effectual prayers, They strongly plead for me;

“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,

“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!

Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”


The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed one;

He cannot turn away The presence of His Son:

His Spirit answers to the blood,

And tells me I am born of God,

And tells me I am born of God.


My God is reconciled, His pard’ning voice I hear;

He owns me for His child, I can no longer fear:

With confidence I now draw nigh,

And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry,

And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.

Posted in Reviews

On Video: Foreign releases to English

We watch a lot of foreign animation (usually with English dubbing) in our house, thanks to the quality tastes of our daughter and the wide variety of such available through our local library system or interlibrary loan.

Today I’m going to pop comments on two of them that we have in the house at the moment, one because I was surprised at how it went after the beginning, the other, well, here goes.

Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest

This one began is a way that made me almost ready to stop watching. It had such a PC tone to the setup — then it made a quick turn that suddenly had me watching to see how they were playing this different.

The PC analogue came from two cultures, and my expectations of one being listed as bad, and the other as good. But, well, let’s just say I encourage you to get it out and see how these two boys play their roles of prince, and how the other characters exceed their stereotypes for the unexpected, and yet in a way very classic, conclusion.

Whisper of the Heart

This is one of many Studio Ghibli videos that have been dubbed to English by Disney Studios, which is doing a wonderful job of dubbing Ghibli movies while staying true to the original story. It shows that underneath the smart business acumen of the studios is also one dedicated to real art and storytelling.

This particular episode in a coming of age sort of movie set in Japan.  There are several growing up pain angles, several love triangle angles, but the one that really popped for our family was the one girl’s attempt to become a writer, and her reaction to her first critic. Her inability to believe how good her story was, struggling with the fact that it still needed a lot of work.  Shizuko is a clever and well-drawn character who has believable struggles that grip your heart without having to be end-of-the-world caliber. Just excellent story telling.


So go get out some movies and see what you think.

Posted in Music

#222: There Is a Fountain

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

This is definitely a classic hymn.  It doesn’t have a chorus, but each verse has some ending lines that do a repetitive amplification of the thought.  It is a an excellent lyrical technique, and makes the song easier to sing and remember.


There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,

And sinners plunged beneath that flood Lose all their guilty stains:

Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood Lose all their guilty stains.


The dying thief rejoiced to see That fountain in his day,

And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away:

Wash all my sins away, Wash all my sins away;

And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away.


Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood Shall never lose its pow’r,

Till all the ransomed Church of God Be saved to sin no more:

Be saved to sin no more, Be saved to sin no more;

Till all the ransomed Church of God Be saved to sin no more.


E’er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme And shall be till I die:

And shall be till I die, And shall be till I die;

Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die.


When this poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue Lies silent in the grave,

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save;

I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save:

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.

Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Music

A Farewell Recital

Avondale United Methodist Church, where I have attended and participated in services and the music ministries for nigh on the past decade, has been blessed during the past four years to have as its Musical Director a very young but very talented and spiritually focused man named Aaron R. Redburn.

When Paul in I Timothy 4:12 advised Timothy to “Let no man despise thy youth”, he could have had Aaron in mind.  For Aaron came to us as a very accomplished, yet very young man just out of high school starting his college career. And in the past 4 years he has challenged us to grow, both musically and spiritually. At the same time we as a choir of mature adults taught Aaron many things that his previous leadings of youth and school choirs doubtless hadn’t taught him.

But, alas, four years have passed, and with the bachelor’s degree completed, he is now taking his Master’s Degree in Memphis, so is no longer our Musical Director. As part of our parting, Aaron, along with his girlfriend Shannon Lowe (who we knew these four years and likewise became a part of us in this growth and challenge), and our church organist John Livingston, presented A Farewell Recital on his last Sunday with us, July, 30, 2017.

I video recorded that recital, and am putting the edited version up to the cloud today, to be embedded into this blog for everyone’s appreciation and enjoyment of their performance and skill. This video edit is my small token of esteem for all they have done for me and for us at AUMC.

The full video took a long time to upload; so I uploaded a link to the 3-minute title slide/teaser I created for the video first. Now you can enjoy both the full video and the title slide.


Posted in Family

A Blast of the Past #111: Keuka Lake

Part of the Summer 2009 trip was a visit to Keuka Lake, one of Finger Lake gems of upstate New York. We visited courtesy of Paul and Aggie, longtime friends of my mother and late father, who had a cabin on Keuka Lake at that time.  Here are some of the pictures from out time on Keuka Lake: