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Friday, November 30, 2012

Photoblog: Umbrellas


Our local library is so photogenic! A local artist filled spaces with umbrellas.

Photoblog: Leaf-boy!


A couple of years ago we found this curious leaf, so we had a little fun with perspective.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Randoms

"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy." (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

The Pentagon asks (and the Washington Times reports): "Did Jesus die for Klingons too?"

Why does the United States government top the list for disclosure of user data from Google accounts?

How To Develop Sherlock Holmes-like Powers of Observation and Deduction.

The Earthquake Rose. Quite Beautiful.

I sure do miss the good ol' Barber Shop.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moonlight

Richard Adams in his novel “Watership Down” paints a rich picture of the full moon, providing a fresh glimpse of the landscape at night. By the way, “Watership Down” is not the name of a sunken submarine. “Down” here refers to treeless, rolling hills (the Downs of Southern England).

“The full moon, well risen in a cloudless eastern sky, covered the high solitude with its light. We are not conscious of daylight as that which displaces darkness. Daylight, even when the sun is clear of clouds, seems to us simply the natural condition of the earth and air. When we think of the downs, we think of the downs in daylight, as we think of a rabbit with its fur on. Stubbs may have envisaged the skeleton inside the horse, but most of us do not: and we do not usually envisage the downs without daylight, even though the light is not a part of the down itself as the hide is part of the horse itself. We take daylight for granted. But moonlight is another matter. It is inconstant. The full moon wanes and returns again. Clouds may obscure it to an extent to which they cannot obscure daylight. Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not. Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament. We need daylight and to that extent it is utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse’s mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that even the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity—so much lower than that of daylight—makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.” (page 148)

(Adams, Richard. “Watership Down.” New York: Macmillan, 1972.)

Photoblog: Cello Suites

This is the title page to my copy of Janos Starker's arrangement of Bach's Cello Suites (with personal notes on interpretation and technique). The golden nugget of wisdom is found in the top-left: "Break your cello! It is better to have character in what you play than to have a beautiful sound." (Pablo Casals)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Photoblog: Foot Bridge

Foot Bridge at Riverwalk Park, Columbia, SC

Monday, November 26, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Look Back on the Election

First, this graphic illustrates how the President won. Click on the graphic for an intriguing explanation.

Now, Al Mohler writes:

"Looking back at the election, The Washington Post offers a detailed analysis of the results with a keen demographic perspective. The data points to the fact that worldview is often tied to contexts and conditions.

First, gender matters. Men favored Mitt Romney for President, with 52% of men voting for him, while 45% voted for President Obama. Women flipped the equation. 55% voted for Obama, while only 44% voted for Romney.

Second, marriage matters. Married women favored Mitt Romney (53%) rather than Barack Obama (46%). Non-married women, in contrast, favored Obama (67%) over Romney (31%). Note the scale of that reversal.

Third, theological convictions matter. White Roman Catholics favored Romney by a huge margin, 59% to 40% for Obama. But white evangelicals preferred Romney by an even greater degree, with 78% voting for Romney and 21% for Obama. But, from the opposite direction, voters with “no religion” as preference preferred Obama, giving him 70% of their votes, leaving 26% for Romney.

As a recent Pew study indicated, fully one in five American adults is now a “none,” registering no religious affiliation of any kind. All this affirms the vital importance of worldview, but we are also reminded of how worldview is related to gender, marital status, and theological conviction. That lesson is right there in the numbers."  (Source: “The Briefing: A Daily Analysis of News and Events from a Christian Worldview", first posted on November 13, 2012.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Randoms

From barbarism to civilization requires a century; from civilization to barbarism needs but a day.”  (Will Durant)

“A little science estranges a man from God. A lot of science brings him back.”  (Francis Bacon)

A Letter to the Country from an Emergency Physician. Entitlement vs. Real Need.

Gas Rationing: 1979 or 2012--can you tell the difference?

Go paperless with Crowder Family Living.

Beatrix Potter pictured with her rabbits. Who knew?

Happy to be a Bearded Gospel Man.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Conservative Rock?

"The entertainment industry is known for its liberal ways. Musicians and performers, like their actor counterparts, generally embrace left-of-center politics. Performers like Pink!, The Dixie Chicks, Madonna and Green Day, among others, have made their allegiances known. But what about their conservative counterparts?" 

Friday, November 09, 2012

What Now?

I have a Bible reading plan and try to stick to it. Wednesday morning I picked up a devotional book (I use them mostly for reference) and started reading about a particular incident in 1 Samuel 26. Here’s the scene: David is running for his life as Saul is chasing him with 3,000 chosen men of Israel. Saul camps just off the road not far from where David is camping in the wilderness.

I like v. 4, “David sent out spies, and he knew that Saul was definitely coming.” Hard to miss 3,001 men a place like this. Yep, they’re coming.

So Saul camps on David’s doorstep. David wants to go down into the camp of his potential assassin and takes his nephew Abishai with him. They get down there and find Saul asleep and surrounded by all these people. No, I don’t know what he was thinking either; but, we do know what was on Abishai’s mind: “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike with him the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him a second time.” (1 Samuel 26:8).

David denies the request giving two reasons: “‘Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be without guilt.’ David also said, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the Lord will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish.” (1 Samuel 26:9-10)

Here’s what grabbed me: Saul had been the hope of the people, a physical and visible leader that offered deliverance. Saul proved himself disobedient to the commands of God, a man after his own heart. He demonstrates so much uncertainty that other leaders back away from him. Now the king is galavanting around the land on his own agenda with no regard for the people of the land nor for the Philistine threat against them. The state of the nation is (in short) “a battleground.”

I believe I can safely say that there was no person on the planet more disagreeable to David than Saul. David had the opportune moment to take Saul out, and what does he do? David calls Saul names--“the Lord’s anointed.” What do you imagine David was feeling, looking down at the man who single-handedly changed the lifestyle of a nation--and him as an individual? What was he feeling? What about those who agreed with how the king was thinking, the direction he was taking the country?

Now look at what David says: 1) touch “the Lord’s anointed” with guilt; 2) God will take him out on His agenda.

God is up to something and we can be certain it has everything to do with His glory. David was on God’s time, watching this crazy king from over his shoulder as he jeopardized the entire kingdom; but it was not time for the king to leave office. David must wait in a manner that preserves his integrity--albeit in exile. He could have taken what was rightfully his, but is this the way to achieve God’s will? God’s will for whom?

I sort of feel like I’m in David’s sandals right now, walking away from the camp of sleeping Saul. I am frustrated, disappointed, angry, frightened, tired, grieved. But I could do no better job. Could someone else? David sure had a lot of backing. Did David walk into Saul’s camp thinking, “I can do a better job for this country--and stop running” a thousand times before breakfast--but could he force God’s will? What would be the outcome?

Perhaps there is someone who could do a better job, but right now. Much more terrible people are on their way and God will take them out in God-glorifying ways.

Something else to think about: God was not finished with the leader-in-office and God was not finished the nation, either. They had to carry out what God's plan involved for them.

Keep reading God’s unchanging Word and find that things are not going to get better until God is ready. Watch the skies for The King, who is coming. He will do the job the best way, as only He can.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Randoms

The shortest verse in the New Testament is NOT the one you think it is!

Here is the real Maria Von Trapp (1905-1987).

This is the theme park we were looking for.

This video on The City of London (and its evil alien reptilian queen) makes you feel pretty darn good to say, "I did not know this!"

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What To Do After An Election

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” (John Wesley, journal entry, October 6, 1774)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tony is Bored.

"I don't care about the liberal agenda anymore. It's boring. Boring. I'm giving you a boring alert." (Tony Stark)

Let's do something different this time.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Hey, it matters to me

A number of years ago, we visited my grandparents. I don’t recall the precise details of the trip, but it may have been a Thanksgiving visit. The scene: a restored log cabin built in the 1880’s sitting on the shoulders of Tennessee hill country a mile and a half from the nearest neighbor. I was about high-school age, late junior-high. I recall it was nighttime when a visitor came. I paid so much attention to the visitor, I honestly can’t say if the person was a young man or a young woman. What I do remember is the visitor was cellist, and may have been with the Nashville Symphony.

This is significant because I played the cello then. Matter of fact, I played until our third child, our first son was born. I stopped playing after he was born because I sold the instrument because we needed the money. I may return to this later.

The visit that night was pre-arranged. This person was invited to come for a private performance (as I remember it) that centered mainly around Bach’s Cello Suites. I recall the person playing, but could not say which of the six Suites particularly. I am going to guess at least the first suite.

I relate this because I feel horrible that I did not pay attention. Truth is, I could not pay attention to the performance. Part of the reason is because for most of my life, I’ve always felt Bach’s Cello Suites were for the kings and queens of the instrument. I’ve always loved Jacqueline Du Pre because she was most down-to-earth to me. Then there was Pablo Casals--I could never cast my eyes his way--too great.

Bach intimidated me, scared me. My teachers tried to get me to play at least the first Prelude, but the bar was just too high. That poor cellist that night gave an outstanding performance, but when Bach filled the air, I just felt so unworthy that I disconnected.

Lately I’ve revisited that night, time and time again. If I could, I would go back to that night. If only I could at least sit on the top of the hills behind the house where the sounds of heaven drift from a cabin up through the night and into the woods. Just to be at the border of earshot where the song of bowing string just kiss the ear.

What does one play after a twenty-year hiatus?

I’ve been listening and researching, reading and practicing. Something is happening that I never dreamed would happen. I am getting to know Bach and the Suites in ways I never thought possible. Did you know that within the Cello Suites lies a window into heaven? I really can’t explain what’s happened, but the music is coming together. My teachers are still alive:

I’m listening, Pau. I’m getting the character now, not just the notes. They don’t scare me anymore. I just need more character development, that’s all. Keep talking, I’m getting it.

Dear Jacqueline--oh, my dear Jacqueline--show us the dance again, the joy.

Starker, I feel it--in my chest, but it’s not enough.

Dearest Rostopovich and Queyras, may we please slow down? I hear the dynamics, and hear the “touch,” but may we please take the time to feel? I need to breathe.

Mrs. L: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for opening the door to this heaven. Now, may I show you the way to Heaven, introduce you to the God of Bach?

Leslie, Holly, Al: what I am supposed to do with myself now?

Visiting cellist (whoever you are). “I’m sorry I did not understand.” Thanks for being there.

Martha and Otis: I can’t words. You know.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Randoms

Digging Graves is Hard Work!  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. … If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

HMS Bounty sinks during Sandy. The Captain has yet to be found. Rescued sailor (and USC student) Claudine Christian dies. Brave young soul.

Gena Norris is much tougher than Chuck (he said so, so it must be true!) and she is fighting!

Music, borrowed from the birds.

Boeing offers an "optionally piloted vehicle."

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