Monday, September 11, 2017

All Irma, all the time

I'm not saying it wasn't bad in Florida, because it was, but it seems to me that just as the History Channel seemed for a while a few years ago to be the "All Hitler, all the time" channel, the news channels for the last couple of days have been "All Irma, all the time." That enhanced satellite image up there of where Irma was at 8:06 AM EDT (12:06 PM GMT) today looks really, really bad, but at this moment north Georgia is receiving only a very light rain, the long, slow kind that the grass loves.

Irma is no longer classified as a Category 4, 3, 2, or even 1 hurricane. She is a tropical storm now. Things may change by this afternoon, and probably will, but that is no reason for everybody in Georgia and Alabama and South Carolina to panic. Well, maybe South Carolina. But the 24/7 coverage the last few days of Irma's slow progress seemed to me to be more of an exercise by government officials in learning how well the populace will respond to instructions from on high.

As usual, this has been one man's opinion.

Other things were happening in the world as well, which one would never have known from watching the news channels. Twenty-four hours a day of relentless coverage of a single story, important as it may be, is not my idea of a news channel. Where was the Mexico earthquake? Where was Kim Jong Il? Where was the run-up to the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11/2001? Where was Prince George's first day of school? Where was the Georgia Tech versus Jacksonville State University football game?

And another thing: Since government in this country is increasingly a top-down effort (rather than a bottom-up effort as God and the United States Constitution intended), the Federal Government apparently sent a man to oversee fleets of ambulances to (where else?) the capital city of Florida, Tallahassee, to help evacuate the elderly and residents of hospitals and assisted-living centers in the Miami area. The announcement was accompanied by self-congratulatory pats on their own backs and speeches from government officials all around. Friends, Tallahassee is 480 miles from Miami. This is akin to having an emergency weather event in Sheffield, Yorkshire, and sending fleets of ambulances to the Isle of Lewis.

Rant over. I think. Everyone is glad, of course, that the damage done by hurricane Irma turned out to be much lower than anticipated.

In our family, however, the most important event of the weekend was that our Alabama grandson in the JSU band received a visit from his Georgia aunt and uncle:

You probably can't spot him on the field, but you can definitely enjoy the sound of the band (4:32).

Unfortunately for JSU fans, the final score of the game was Georgia Tech 37, Jacksonville State 10.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Time may pass, but some things do not change

Here's a song from 1917:

There are smiles that make us happy
There are smiles that make us blue
There are smiles that steal away the tear drops
As the sunbeams steal away the dew

There are smiles that have a tender meaning
That the eyes of love alone may see
And the smiles that fill my heart with sunshine
Are the smiles that you give to me

(from "Smiles" (1917), lyrics by J. Will Callahan, music by Lee S. Roberts)

Here is a 2017 demonstration of the above by some people I know:

From top to bottom, these photographs were made at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; at Indian Rocks Beach, Florida; and at Orange Beach, Alabama.

Sumer (with apologies to Robert Burns) is no longer icumen in; in fact, it is a-goin' out. Nevertheless, even though Mrs. RWP and I have stayed close to home, we are also smiling.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

An anniversary approaches

On September 28th this blog will have been in existence for ten years. Yes, dear reader, an entire decade of shared laughter and tears, ups and downs, froth and substance, serious explorations and sheer folderol has elapsed. In other words, a slice of life -- yours and mine -- consisting of 3,653 days (including the Leap Days of 2008, 2012, and 2016) that we can never get back are gone forever.

Sadly, long gone are such readers as Jeannelle of Iowa (not to be confused with Eleanor of Aquitaine), Carolina in Nederland and her wonderful horses, Daphne in Yorkshire, her friend Ian who had a silver back, Pat - An Arkansas Stamper, Dr. John Linna of Neenah, Wisconsin, who had a whole town in his basement, Katherine de Chevalle in New Zealand, and the one and only Putz of Tooele, Utah. I miss them all. Happily, though, stepping up to the plate to take their turns at bat (it's an expression from the game of baseball) have been such online luminaries as Graham Edwards from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Elephant's Child whose just-so story takes place in Australia, author Frances Garrood, Emma Springfield, the ever-irrepressible Yorkshire Pudding, Snowdrift Snowplow Snowbrush, Adrian, Gary, another Ian who shoots parrots (not really), someone who is simply All Consuming, and many others.

I appreciate each one of you, and newcomers are always welcome.

It has been great fun to date, and I look forward to continuing the online interaction with you for quite a while yet. But who knows? I may live another twenty years or another twenty minutes. I am hoping to last another 28 days, at least, to reach this significant anniversary.

If you're wondering what to get me, money is always good.

I hope you know I'm joking.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Dale Carnegie (1888 – 1955), the American writer and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills (so says Wikipedia), said that. He also wrote How To Win Friends And Influence People, but that is neither here nor there not what this post is about.

This post is about the answer to the question posed in yesterday's (August 21, 2017) post, "What do the following words have in common and what does the title of the post (Yesterday tomorrow) mean?" which was then followed by (surprise, surprise!) this list of words:

alibi, burglar, corpse, deadbeat, evidence, fugitive, gumshoe, homicide, innocent, judgment, killer, lawless, malice, noose, outlaw, peril, quarry, ricochet, silence, trespass, undertow, vengeance, wasted, x, yesterday

The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind, it is right here, in two parts:

1. What the words have in common is that they are used in titles to an alphabetic series of detective novels by American writer Sue Grafton (1940 - ). Clicking on the link in the previous sentence will show you each book's dust jacket and reveal a little about each book. Please do (click on the etc.).

2. Today, August 22, 2017, is the publication date of the most recent and eventually penultimate book in the series, Y Is For Yesterday. And at precisely at this point in this post I remind you of the title up there, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

It's that simple. I do apologize (British: apologise) for having caused any pre-apocalyptic concerns amongst my vast readership (at least four).

P.S. -- Ms. Grafton has already announced that the final book in the series will be entitled Z Is For Zero, which selection doesn't seem to have any connection to the previous 25 choices. Wait, neither did the word Yesterday.

P.P.S. -- This post is not meant to be a recommendation of Ms. Grafton's work as I have never read a single word of hers. Mrs. RWP has read a few of the books but stopped because of the strong language she encountered. Mrs. RWP recommends that if you like the genre but prefer milder language, read John Grisham.

P.P.P.S -- Lastly, it may be of interest to certain readers that Ms. Grafton herself says that she was inspired to begin the series, which began in 1982, after reading Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

(2009 photo by Mark Coggins, used in accordance with CC BY 2.0)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Yesterday tomorrow

What do the following words have in common and what does the post's title mean?

alibi, burglar, corpse, deadbeat, evidence, fugitive, gumshoe, homicide, innocent, judgment, killer, lawless, malice, noose, outlaw, peril, quarry, ricochet, silence, trespass, undertow, vengeance, wasted, x, yesterday

No fair googling. Either you know it or you don't.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

If you're going to be forced to spend a day at a beach in Florida... may as well be with beautiful people.

(Photographs by Linda C. Brown a.k.a. Aunt Da, August 2017)

These people, who are beautiful inside and out, are my younger son and his wife with their two sons, aged 21 and 19, on a last outing of summer before the younger set return to their respective universities. One almost expects Gatsby to appear over the dunes.

This post represents the opinion of its creator. Our sponsor, the Blogging Powers That Be, is (are?) not responsible in any way for the thoughts and opinions expressed herein. Any comments should be sent directly to the creator of the post.

Monday, July 31, 2017

One little, two little, three little hymnals. Four little, five little, six little hymnals...

My friend Snowbrush out in Oregon noticed the new header on my blog and left a comment that began, "Maybe your church is ready for a new edition of its hymnal."

It made me chuckle. Actually, there have been several editions of the Methodist Hymnal since that particular one was published. More about that later in this post.

Snowbrush also said, "I left my last comment while listening to "With Heart and Voice," which is a weekly program of religious music. Its original presenter was an Englishman named Richard Gladwell (sad to say, but the current presenter is not his equal) who served on a bomber during WWII, but ended up living in the U.S. Though Gladwell was an Episcopalian, he received the Benemerenti medal from the pope."

Having never heard of the Benemerenti medal, my naturally inquisitive self ("Curiosity killed the cat" according to my mother, but my wife adds, "Finding out brought it back") had to learn more. I learned that Benemerenti means "well-deserved" in Latin and the medal has been awarded many times by many popes since its creation nearly 200 years ago. The current version looks like this:

The design of the medal does change from time to time. Here's what it looked like in 1984. This particular medal is on display in the Cork Public Museum in Ireland:

(Photograph by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, used in accordance with the terms of CC BY-SA 3.0)

"While studying your new blog format," Snowbrush continued, "I noticed that the book in the photo is a very old Methodist hymnal, and I was rather hoping that you would say more about it. I was also wondering if any of the old Methodist hymns have since been "cleaned up" in terms of gender references (one of the most appalling instances that I've heard was changing "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" to "Parent, Child, and Holy Spirit")."

The Methodist Hymnal up at the top of the blog (here's a smaller photo for those of you who don't scroll) was given to me by Mrs. Joan M., who found it among her mother’s things after her mother died two or three years ago. It is quite small and contains lyrics only, no musical notes. And lest you think I placed a very large cup next to a normal-sized book, here is the book next to my very wrinkly hand to give you some perspective:

This book is the oldest item in my home. I have a maple rocking chair my mother bought me when I was four (1945), a torchiere-style floor lamp from my wife's mother's living room (circa 1940), and my maternal grandmother's triple-strand of pearls that she wore at her wedding (1897), but the title page of the little book of Methodist Hymns indicates a publication date of 1845:

Snowbrush added, "I own several hymnals (Episcopal, Church of Christ, and Southern Baptist--the latter arrived by way of Peggy who, as you might recall, grew up in an observant Southern Baptist household), some of them old. I also have various Episcopal prayer books, some of which are SO old that they contain references to debtors' prisons, and have prayers for prisoners who were about to be hung."

As it happens, I own several hymnals also. On either side of my computer monitor and keyboard is a six-foot-tall bookshelf with five shelves each (let's see, five shelves times two bookcases, that's, er, um, carry the four, divide by seven, that's ten shelves in all) that I put together with my own two hands, ten shelves of books in our bedroom sitting area, and the highest shelf in the left side bookcase contains these:

I was going to add that Methodist Hymnals traditionally begin with Charles Wesley's, "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing My Great Redeemer's Praise" (the 1845 version does) but a quick check of the dark blue one on that shelf burst my bubble. It is from the 1930s and begins with "Holy! Holy! Holy!" -- so much for supposed traditions.

Snowbrush's comment ended with a request: "I usually listen to religious music on Sunday morning, but my private collection isn't great, so I'm wondering if you could offer some suggestions, preferably something newer than Bach but (ideally, though not necessarily) a bit older than the Fanny Crosby era. I prefer music that includes singing."

That is a hard one. I was going to suggest several Charles Wesley hymns, but his lifespan overlaps Bach's. So does Isaac Watts's. So does George Frederic Handel's. There are many, many hymns from the mid-to-late nineteenth century, but that's Fanny Crosby's era. What to do? What to do?

I am recommending that Snowbrush and everybody else listen to the oratorio Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn. There are some wonderful selections in it including "If With All Your Hearts Ye Truly Seek Me" and "O Rest In The Lord, Wait Patiently For Him" and "Then Shall The Righteous Shine Forth As The Sun In Their Heavenly Father's Realm" and -- my favorite -- the gorgeous choral number "He Watching Over Israel Slumbers Not Nor Sleeps."

Here's the first one (3:18), and you should look for the others on Youtube yourself.

I'm grateful to Snowbrush for inspiring this post. I need all the help I can get.