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Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Yep, we're back.

We went to Lowe's tonight to buy some things we need to get ready for company next week. At 5:58 we pulled into the parking lot. A woman said "Are you coming in? Because we're closed. We open tomorrow morning at 6."

Oh! It's New Year's Eve, a major holiday. I can understand opening late tomorrow morning to accomodate all the hung-over revelers, but why close early and open early the next day? No one's going to be out at 6 tomorrow morning. I sure won't be. I'm still on Eastern Time. I'm ready for bed already. It's 7:45 out in Baltimore!
Monsters!

Bailey came home after a week away. She pointed to the shelf where the movies are and said "Monsters! Monsters! Want to watch Monsters!" We put it on for her and she squealed and laughed at the part in the beginning where the monster falls on the tacks. After she was done having her laughing fit, she looked at Duane and said "What doing?"

If she didn't know what the monster was doing, why was she laughing so hard???

Monday, December 30, 2002

Pictures

Sorry this link didn't work. Yahoo! is slowly tightening its grip on its briefcase services to induce customers to purchase server space.

Friday, December 27, 2002

It sounds like a freight train...

I'm downstairs at my parent's house and Bailey is upstairs, playing with the family and Moose, my sister's Plott Hound.

I can hear her running up and down the hallway over my head. She sounds like a freight train.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Who said Latin was a dead language?

My reading comprehension is not nearly good enough to read this, so I don't know how good this is.

Some guys are trying to translate Simarillion into Latin.
Messiah

Last night at church we had our Christmas program after the evening service. I guess about 100 people stayed.

The music was nice even though it was sort of thrown together at the last minute (one of my biggest pet peeves!). The best part, though, was the end. This is the second year we've had a Christmas program and last year they ended it with the congregation trying to sing the Hallelujah chorus from the Messiah. We decided we'd make it an annual event to end the program with the chorus.

It was a lot of fun! Some of the middle sections were a little rough, but all-in-all we got most of it right. (The alto line is nothing to sneeze at!) We ended on the right note, at the right time, in a beautiful four-part harmony.

What a blessing to attend a church whose members are so zealous to praise the Lord! Every Sunday for a few seconds during the worship I close my eyes and just listen to everyone else singing. I've never experienced anything quite like it.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Fly! Fly!

We use MSN to access the Internet. When Bailey sees the butterfly that flaps its wings while you are signing on, she runs to the computer and says "Bu fly! Bu fly!" I thought I'd find some butterfly websites so I could show her all the pretty colors and tell her how God made them all. There are beautiful pictures on Butterfly Utopia. I've never seen butterflies with colors like these.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

That's me


What kind of band geek are you?

Forget that useless marching stuff - you're all about chair auditions, Solo & Ensemble contest, and bow ties. Oh, and you probably value your instrument more than you value your soul.

I was in the full orchestra all through school, but I think all the questions still apply (never played a band instrument; was never a part of the band that petitioned to have marching band count as a PE credit, which it should have. They averaged two-three miles a day in practice). Our school had a marching band, a concert band, an orchestra, and a full orchestra, which is fairly rare for public high schools anymore. That means we played full orchestra scores - complete with oboes, clarinets, french horns, etc.

The competition was fierce, the backstabbing was perpetual. There was ol' Blue, the blue upright piano only a few honored students were allowed to touch. There was Mr. Powell's office which had a floor covered in carpet. If you were a freshman, you could use the phone in the back of his office but you weren't allowed to touch the carpet (game of Twister, anyone?). The band/orchestra room was open all day for any member to come in, practice, hang out, fold the ever-present fund-raising pizza boxes. The Band Boosters made the BEST cold-cut subs; I used to buy them half a dozen at a time, freeze them, and eat them within a week in high school.

I had incessant practices for all-county and all-state orchestra auditions, solo and ensemble festivals, and a plethora of other geekish-type events. My junior year, because I had to take Calculus and AP Physics to get into the Naval Academy, I had to sit out of orchestra. I took Latin instead (it was the only thing that would fit into my schedule, honest!) and lost principal chair to Soo Youn, who (gasp!) played an almost-full-size violin tuned as a viola. Those of you who know about violas, you know this truly is the cardinal sin. I hounded her and harassed her all year, switching bowings behind her back, ignoring her dynamics, and all around I was just plain mean.

My sophomore year I watched the concert master and the second chair bicker (he wore suits he bought from Goodwill and wore his hair over his eyes; she played an olive-green violin and wound up an assistant DA in A.A. County). She thought she was better; he thought he should defend his chair. And we all stressed about it. (Is Tim going to lose his chair? Can Emily possibly challenge him??) We performed Holst's St. Paul's Suite at State Festival and got a superior rating just for trying it. First and second chair violas were gone that day; I had to play the Intermezzo solo (unpracticed) and got skewered, but the judges understood.

Although my memories of high school are sometimes bitter and regretful, I don't regret a day of orchestra. I loved it.
I always thought there was something wrong...

I've been trying to digest E. Michael Jones' Dionysos Rising, an analysis of the creation and effects of the twelve-tone "chromatic" system in music that emerged with Wagner and Schonberg in the mid-late 19th and early 20th centuries. Anyone who is familiar with these men's work will immediately know what the term "twelve-tone" refers to: using all twelve chromatic steps in a scale instead of the ordered harmonies of the diatonic system. It is a disconcerting and disturbing style of music, sickening to the ears and unsettling to the spirit. As an aside, it seems that many musical systems in non-Christianized countries are not based on the diatonic system, which would raise an intersting theory about why much of the world's music is "odd" to our ears. People who claim that the "Western system" is unique to the west and should stay there really ought to read this book. It does an excellent job of explaining exactly why music and musical structure is not subjective. There are definable objective parameters to judging musical beauty, harmony, and the degree of reflection of God in the music.

While much of the history and philosophy in Dionysos Rising is over my head, I am understanding the basic analysis of the theory behind "dodecaphony" - the twelve-tone system that evolved as a result of the mangling of music Wagner first attempted with Tannhauser where he contrasted the orderly harmonic music representing Christianity against the disorderly pagan free-love structures. Here are some interesting quotes concerning the structure and effects of dodecaphony:
When Adorno wrote that "the twelve-tone music is inseparable from dissonance, and the death chord is therefore a cipher of its fulfillment" (all twelve tones taken together in one chord are "deadly because all movement finds reast in them without any resolution"), he arrived at the heart of the twelve-tone system. It is complete rebellion against the natural order, which is frozen in a moment of death, so that there is no possibility of ever going back on that fateful decision. It is indistinguishable from suicide, whereby the subject makes his rebellion against God permanent and irrevocable.

...the only really identifiable characteristic of the twelve-tone technique was its soul-destroying monotony. It was in many ways the international style of music...as it gained in ascendency during the fifties, primarily because of the amount of money the Gernman government was willing to pour into having it performed, one by one nearly all of the postwar composers tried their hand at twelve-tone composition, and the technique worked its magic on all of them. From Copeland to Stravinsky, no matter who picked up the technique...it made them all sound the same. Twelve-tone music was the great musical internationalizer, democratizer, and homogenizer.

The twelve-tone system is either childish in its simplicity or impossibly complex. Either way, it is impossible to listen to and, for those who have to play it, a source of illness. In an uncanny confirmation of Pythagoras, who felt that music had medicinal effects, Korn claims a correlation between higher rates of illness among orchestra musicians and the amount of twelve-tone music they play. Like Saint Augustine, who in his Confessions claimed that "even those who set themselves up against you do but copy you in a perverse way," so the twelve-toners in their attempt to destroy the classical musical tradition ended up substantiating the fact that dissonance makes us ill at ease, to the point of just plain illness.

CCM (Contemporary Cheesy Music)

The first time I listened to AFR was when I was living in Corinth, Mississippi, about seven years ago. AFR was the only station in town. I was interminably frustrated by the terrible music they played side-by-side with the terrible theology they promoted.

Fast-forward to Monroe. There are only a handful of stations here, and I don't care for country or rock. So the options are AFR, BBN, NPR, and a really goofy local Christian station. Most of the time I listen to NPR. BBN is surprisingly good from time to time; they play good choral pieces that none of the other Christian stations play (I really miss Joy! on Sunday mornings on NPR in St. Louis.)

Right now, however, I find that I have AFR on more often than not - they are playing all Christmas music through Advent and Christmas. It seems that the CCM they are playing is as a whole better than it used to be. There still are handfuls of zingers, but I'm surprised by some of the theology I'm hearing. Also, GLAD, Steve Green, and Fernando Ortega are getting a lot of air time - all Reformed recording artists. Their overall theology is better, as well - not quite as flaky as it used to be.

What is interesting to me is that even with modern "updates" most of the Advent/Christmas songs that are recorded really require skill to sing. For instance, just about anyone can sing "Mary's Boy Child" but "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" requires much more vocal skill. I have been pleasantly surprised by some contemporary artists' abilities to sing these more demanding songs. Some have lived up to their expectations (low) but many have really showcased some ability. Back in my "you gotta update everything to make it relevant" days, we bought the New Young Messiah. Now we listen to the real deal, but there are some good pieces on that CD. If you want to hear real vocal talent, listen to Steve Green's I know that my Redeemer lives. He has some amazing talent (as is evident on all his CD's) and shouldn't be missed. His a capella performance of A Mighty Fortress is wonderful, too.

I wish some of these artists would record CD's of more difficult pieces. I would really appreciate them more for tackling some more challenging pieces. I wish GLAD would record an a capella album of great choral pieces. Don't think it would sell, but I'd buy one!
Spiders

I've been told before that often spiders hide out in bags of grapes.
Pizza

In St. Louis there is a local pizza chain called Imo's. Either you really, really like it or you hate it. I never met anyone in St. Louis who was ambivalent about Imo's pizza. I loved it; Duane hated it. Their pizza has a very thin, crispy crust and they use provel cheese. Provel is not provolone; it's a processed cheese blend (that's a euphemism for a product like Cheese Whiz) made out of a mixture of cheeses. Imo's also has delicious meatball subs.

Down here in Monroe they have an enormously popular chain called Johnny's. I really don't like Johnny's pizza. Their special right now is called a "Sweep the Kitchen." Who would want to eat something called that? You can tell who the locals are by how they order..."Yeah, uh, gimme a 12 inch sweep."

I wonder if every town has these indigenous pizza chains that somehow inspire fierce loyalty among the locals. I don't really care for pizza all that much; if I eat any at all I like CiCi's or Pizza Hut. In St. Louis we usually ate Mazzio's since Duane didn't care for Imo's.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool Presby...

I took the quiz that Barb linked to. I agree, some questions were rather imprecise, and I wasn't sure what the rank of importance meant - importance to me, or how strongly I agreed with the best answer they offered?

Oh, well, for what it's worth, Duane's were: #1. Eastern Orthodox, #2. LCMS, #3. ELCA. Roman Catholic was #5 on his list. PCA was below the Church of Christ on his list.

Rank
#1 equals your best match

#1 Presbyterian Church in America/Orthodox Presbyterian Church
#2 Reformed Churches
#3 Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
#4 Presbyterian Church USA
#5 Reformed Baptist
#6 Methodist/Weslyian Church
#7 Church of Christ
#8 Episcopal/Anglican Church
#9 Evangelical Lutheran Church
#10 Southern Baptist
#11 Free Will Baptist
#12 Eastern Orthodox Church
#13 International Church of Christ
#14 Mennonite Brethren
#15 Assemblies of God
#16 Orthodox Quakerism
#17 Roman Catholic Churc
#18 United Pentecostal Church
#19 Seventh-Day Adventist
#20 Mormonism
#21 Jehovah's Witness
#22 Liberal Quakerism
#23 Unitarian Universalism
#24 Unity Church

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Aargh!

I made the mistake of watching a segment on The Today Show this morning. Today visited a family in New York that "celebrates" polytheism - the mother is Catholic, the father is Presbyterian, one daughter is Jewish and the other daughter is Muslim.

The family got tired of decorating for the "season" (what season? winter?) by using neutral snowflakes every year. Sure, they made Star-of-David and dreidel-shaped sugar cookies, but they wanted something a little more diverse. (What type of "decorating" do you do for Islam except hang pictures of cows and spiders? So Today hired a team of fruitloop interior designers to come in and "redo" the family's decorations.

The frst thing they said is "We have to get rid of preconceived notions about colors. Colors don't mean anything." The family wound up with a Christmas tree done all in blue with some type of blueberry-looking ornaments, all their artwork wrapped up like Christmas gifts, and red "greens" decorating the mantel. They had a post-modern-looking menorah (just votive candle holders set down on a table) and nothing uniquely Muslim. The father said "This might not be right for everyone or even anyone, but it's worked for us." They were given a lot of credit by the narrator on their "big hearts" and "true diversity." At the end, the narrator said "this is a family that is truly diverse and celebrates the season by appreciating all faiths." Looked more to me like a mish-mash of junk and confusion with no faith being celebrated at all.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

AAPC

For those of you coming to the Auburn Avenue Pastor's Conference in January, don't forget that you are all invited to a lunch on Tuesday the 7th. When the conference breaks for lunch feel free to head on over to our house for something to fill your stomach. I will post directions from the church to our house after Christmas.

If you think you might want to come, let me know by commenting so I can get a rough estimate.
Nostalgia

I am sifting through my old piano music and found some pieces that brought back some memories. One of the first pieces I learned was "Run for the Roses" by Dan Fogelberg. I must have been in fifth grade when I learned that one. I also found "Mandolin Rain" (Bruce Hornsby), "The Rainbow Connection", and "Somewhere Out There."

On the classical side I found some Grieg waltzes I remember disliking and some torn-up Debussy books, which is how they should stay. Yuck. I really didn't like playing Children's Corner at all. I performed Golliwog's Cake Walk for my seventh-grade recital and hated it. I'm glad I have some perspective for when Bailey starts an instrument. There are types of music that just don't need to be learned at all.

If my teacher wanted me to have the technique that Debussy demands, I could have taken a finger yoga class or done thumb-wrestling instead.

What a waste of time. I play Debussy whenever I want to make the hair stand up on the back of Duane's neck.
Still lazy

I still don't feel like doing anything.
Star Trek: Nemesis

It's here! Duane and I are going to try to go to see the new Star Trek movie tonight. There's no telling if it will be sold out or not.

I guess there's always Maid in Manhattan.

He-he. Duane loves me, but not that much.
Lazy

I just don't feel like doing anything.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

At the library yesterday I was sifting through the CD collection and found the first recording of the original Trapp Family Singers. These would have been the family members portrayed in "The Sound of Music."

This particular CD was recorded in America by RCA Victor between 1938 and 1941. An interesting note from the insert:
A common misconception is that the original Trapp Family Singers performed the same tunes heard in The Sound of Music. In reality, the Trapps' repertoire was a potpourri of Renaissance music, sacred music, madrigals, and of folk songs collected from many lands. They sang a capella, but also performed chamber music, using recorders, spinet, and viola da gamba.
I had never heard the Trapp Family Singers before and I truly enjoyed this album. Since they never received professional voice training (and never intended to sing professionally at all, but only for their enjoyment at home), some of the voices are occasionally unbalanced or slightly off-key, but all in all, a wonderful vocal experience.

Some of my favorites:

Innsbruck, Ich Muss Dich Lassen (Henrich Isaac, 1450-1517)
Come, Heavy Sleep (John Dowland, 1563-1626)
Vom Himmel Hoch (Bach)
O Haupt Voll Blut Und Wunden, Chorale 63 (Bach)
Guten Abend, Gut'Nacht, Op. 41 (Brahms)

If you enjoy this type of music, it would be worth seeing if your library system has this CD.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Thrillers...

1 PSYCHO 1960
2 JAWS 1975
3 THE EXORCIST 1973
4 NORTH BY NORTHWEST 1959
5 THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS 1991
6 ALIEN 1979
7 THE BIRDS 1963
8 THE FRENCH CONNECTION 1971
9 ROSEMARY'S BABY 1968
10 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1981
11 THE GODFATHER 1972
13 BONNIE AND CLYDE 1967
14 REAR WINDOW 1954
18 VERTIGO 1958
19 THE GREAT ESCAPE 1963
25 TITANIC 1997
27 STAR WARS 1977
28 FATAL ATTRACTION 1987
29 THE SHINING 1980
30 THE DEER HUNTER 1978
31 CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND 1977
33 THE FUGITIVE 1993
35 JURASSIC PARK 1993
37 CASABLANCA 1942
39 DIE HARD 1988
40 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY 1968
42 THE TERMINATOR 1984
43 THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939
44 E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982
45 SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 1998
46 CARRIE 1976
48 DIAL M FOR MURDER 1954
49 BEN-HUR 1959
52 ROCKY 1976
57 ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN 1976
59 PLANET OF THE APES 1968
60 THE SIXTH SENSE 1999
61 CAPE FEAR 1962
62 SPARTACUS 1960
66 THE MATRIX 1999
72 PLATOON 1986
74 BLADE RUNNER 1982
76 THELMA & LOUISE 1991
77 TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY 1991
82 THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL 1951
84 POLTERGEIST 1982
90 THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE 1972
91 BRAVEHEART 1995
95 FULL METAL JACKET 1987
99 SPEED 1994

100 Comedies...

Here are the movies I've seen on AFI's Top 100 Comedies list...

2 TOOTSIE 1982
10 AIRPLANE! 1980
15 THE PHILADELPHIA STORY 1940
21 A FISH CALLED WANDA 1988
23 WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… 1989
27 THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY 1998
28 GHOSTBUSTERS 1984
30 ARSENIC AND OLD LACE 1944
31 RAISING ARIZONA 1987
34 GROUNDHOG DAY 1993
42 BIG 1988
43 AMERICAN GRAFFITI 1973
63 BEVERLY HILLS COP 1984
64 BROADCAST NEWS 1987
67 MRS. DOUBTFIRE 1993
82 PRIVATE BENJAMIN 1980
86 CITY SLICKERS 1991
88 BEETLEJUICE 1988
89 THE JERK 1979
93 FARGO 1996
97 BULL DURHAM 1988
100 GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM 1987

I'd have to argue that many of those aren't really comedies. Some overlap from other categories.
100 "Most Passionate" Films

Here are the movies I've seen on AFI's Most Passionate Films list:

1. "Casablanca" - 1942
4. "Roman Holiday" - 1953
6. "The Way We Were" - 1973
8. "It's a Wonderful Life" - 1946
12. "My Fair Lady" - 1964
17. "Moonstruck" - 1987
18. "Vertigo" - 1958
19. "Ghost" - 1990
21. "Pretty Woman" - 1990
25. "When Harry Met Sally" - 1989
27. "The Sound of Music" - 1965
28. "The Shop Around the Corner" - 1940
29. "An Officer and a Gentleman" - 1982
31. "The King and I" - 1956
34. "Beauty and the Beast" - 1991
37. "Titanic" - 1997
44. "The Philadelphia Story" - 1940
45. "Sleepless in Seattle" - 1993
47. "Splendor in the Grass" - 1961
50. "Shakespeare in Love" - 1998
54. "Sabrina" - 1954
56. "The English Patient" - 1996
58. "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" - 1967
59. "Picnic" - 1955
61. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - 1961
65. "Bonnie and Clyde" - 1967
67. "A Streetcar Named Desire" - 1951
70. "Sense and Sensibility" - 1995
72. "Roxanne" - 1987
75. "The American President" - 1995
76. "The Quiet Man" - 1952
82. "Witness" - 1985
85. "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" - 1955
88. "The Princess Bride" - 1987
93. "Dirty Dancing" - 1987
94. "Body Heat" - 1981
95. "Lady and the Tramp" - 1955
97. "Grease" - 1978
100. "Jerry Maguire" - 1996

Trivia" Seven of AFI's top 10 greatest love stories feature couples that do not end up together in the end. I haven't seen all of the top 10, but I know out of the list I've seen, the couples don't end up together in The Way We Were, Ghost, The King and I, Titanic, Splendor in the Grass, The English Patient, Bonnie and Clyde, A Streetcar Named Desire (I think), and Dirty Dancing. I can't remember the others well enough to remember.
Things you'd never expect to hear...

I've been corresponding with Mr. Jim Jordan via email for some advice on the music for the upcoming AAPC. He's been a great help and resource for the "right way" to sing Genevan tunes.

In his last email he actually used the phrase "rip-snorting Lutheran hymns". That just cracked me up. I don't know him; I've never spoken to him, but it just seems to me that is something I wouldn't expect to hear. Gives me great insight into his sense of humor!
Avant garde

Folks, I have to tell you, the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet is not a work of art. Don't try to make it one. It doesn't matter how slowly or deliberately you arrange the lettuce on your plate, it's never going to look like a masterpiece. And you're most certainly going to jostle someone on your way back to the table, and deconstruct that aesthetically un-pleasing arrangement of lettuce.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

100 Greatest Films

Following Dawn's lead (she was brave enough to tackle the 100 Greatest Books list), here are the movies I've seen from AFI's list of 100 Greatest Movies:

2. Casablanca (1942)
Director: Michael Curtiz; Stars: Humphrey Bogart; Ingrid Bergman; Claude Rains
I thought this one was pretty good.

3. The Godfather (1972)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola; Stars: Marlon Brando; Al Pacino; James Caan; Robert Duvall
Couldn't understand Marlon Brando. Did he have some sort of speech impediment, or was he just trying to sound macho? Either way, good gangster movie.

6. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Director: Victor Fleming; Stars: Judy Garland; Ray Bolger; Margaret Hamilton
Got my vote for the most annoying movie ever made.

9. Schindler's List (1993)
Director: Steven Spielberg; Stars: Liam Neeson; Ralph Fiennes; Ben Kingsley
Really appreciated it. Especially the scene with the little girl in the red dress. Very innovative cinematography.

11. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Director: Frank Capra; Stars: James Stewart; Donna Reed; Lionel Barrymore
It was enjoyable the first time (I'd never heard of Jimmy Stewart until Duane and I got married), umpteen times later, it's wearing thing. Good theology, though.

15. Star Wars (1977)
Director: George Lucas; Stars: Mark Hamill; Harrison Ford; Carrie Fisher; Alec Guinness
Didn't remember seeing it in the theaters (I was 4) put my mom said I loved it. Had the requisite crush on Mark Hamill. Thought I was Princess Leia. Wanted her hairdo.

18. Psycho (1960)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock; Stars: Anthony Perkins; Janet Leigh; Vera Miles; John Gavin
Not too scary; I guess to many special effects ruin your appreciation for good suspense. Then again, it may have just been overrated.

20. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Director: Milos Forman; Stars: Jack Nicholson; Louise Fletcher; Brad Dourif
Watched it to avoid reading the book for English class in high school.

21. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Director: John Ford; Stars: Henry Fonda; Jane Darwell; John Carradine
See #21.

22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Director: Stanley Kubrick; Stars: Keir Dullea; William Sylvester; Gary Lockwood
Bizarre. Never really could figure out exactly what it was saying. HAL was interesting, though.

25. E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Director: Steven Spielberg; Stars: Dee Wallace; Henry Thomas; Drew Barrymore
What can I say? It defined my generation. "Phone home" and Reese's Pieces were all the rage when I was 8.

27. Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
Director: Arthur Penn; Stars: Warren Beatty; Faye Dunaway; Michael J. Pollard
Very interesting and tragic.

28. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola; Stars: Marlon Brando; Robert Duvall; Martin Sheen
Sick, twisted, and disturbing movie. Never should have been made. Absolutely gave me nightmares.

29. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Director: Frank Capra; Stars: James Stewart; Claude Rains; Jean Arthur
See #28. Just kidding. I really, really, really liked this one. I'd like to own it on DVD someday. Jimmy Stewart quickly became one of my favorite actors and I was impressed with the realism of the politics even though this was made in 1939.

32. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola; Stars: Al Pacino; Robert De Niro; Robert Duvall; Diane Keaton
Just had to see the sequel. More good gangster stuff.

34. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Director: Robert Mulligan; Stars: Gregory Peck; Mary Badham; Philip Alford; Robert Duvall
Watched it for Duane. It's his favorite book and movie. Thought it was terribly boring, but love my husband so much I bought him the DVD last year for his birthday.

36. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Director: John Schlesinger; Stars: Jon Voight; Dustin Hoffman
Really depressing. Really, really depressing. Really, really, really depressing.

40. North By Northwest (1959)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock; Stars: Cary Grant; Eva Marie Saint; James Mason
Didn't like it the first time I saw it. Enjoyed it the second time around. I'm not a Cary Grant fan.

42. Rear Window (1954)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock; Stars: James Stewart; Grace Kelly; Wendell Corey; Thelma Ritter
Very suspenseful. Helped me appreciate Hitchcock.

45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Director: Elia Kazan; Stars: Marlon Brando; Vivien Leigh; Kim Hunter; Karl Malden
See #36.

48. Jaws (1975)
Director: Steven Spielberg; Stars: Roy Scheider; Robert Shaw; Richard Dreyfuss
Scary, at the time. Made me not want to swim for a while.

49. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Director: Ben Sharpsteen, William Cottrell, Walt Disney, and others; Stars: Adriana Caselotti; Harry Stockwell; Lucille LaVerne (voices)
Don't remember much. Just remember Snow White's getup and the goofy dwarves.

51. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Director: George Cukor; Stars: Katharine Hepburn; Cary Grant; James Stewart
I have to disagree with AFI's choice on this one. Tried to watch it twice, fell asleep both times. I don't like Cary Grant.

53. Amadeus (1984)
Director: Milos Forman; Stars: F. Murray Abraham; Tom Hulce; Elizabeth Berridge
Innovative for it's day. Truly helped me pity Mozart and enjoy his music at the same time.

54. All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)
Director: Lewis Milestone; Stars: Lew Ayres; Louis Wolheim; John Wray; Slim Summerville
Watched this in 10th grade Western Civ class. Fell asleep.

55. The Sound of Music (1965)
Director: Robert Wise; Stars: Julie Andrews; Christopher Plummer; Eleanor Parker
Saw the first hour 25 times (always had to go to bed before it was over) and finally saw the whole thing this year. A true classic; one we can watch over and over with our family.

58. Fantasia (1941)
Director: James Algar, Ben Sharpsteen, Walt Disney and others; Stars: Deems Taylor (narrator); Leopold Stokowski (himself) and the Philadelphia Orchestra
Boring.

59. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Director: Nicholas Ray; Stars: James Dean; Natalie Wood; Sal Mineo; Jim Backus
Whatever. Natalie Wood sure is pretty; I liked her better in "Splendor in the Grass" with Warren Beatty.

60. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Director: Steven Spielberg; Stars: Harrison Ford; Karen Allen
Good guys get the bad guys, guy gets girl, recues her several times, proclaims his true love for her...what else could you ask for?

61. Vertigo (1958)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock; Stars: James Stewart; Kim Novak; Barbara Bel Geddes
Another good Hitchcock suspense thriller.

62. Tootsie (1982)
Director: Sidney Pollack; Stars: Dustin Hoffman; Jessica Lange; Dabney Coleman; Teri Garr
Don't remember anything about this one except this one made me not-a-Dustin-Hoffman fan.

64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Director: Steven Spielberg; Stars: Richard Dreyfuss; Francois Truffaut; Teri Garr
Close encounters of the boring and stupid kind. Sort of defines Richard Dreyfuss' monotonous career.

65. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Director: Jonathan Demme; Stars: Jodie Foster; Scott Glenn; Anthony Hopkins
Watched it a billion times when it came out. Now it really scares me. Some twisted-up mind thought this one up.

71. Forrest Gump (1994)
Director: Robert Zemeckis; Stars: Tom Hanks; Robin Wright; Gary Sinise; Sally Field
Classic. Good stuff, except for "Lieutenant Dan."

72. Ben-Hur (1959)
Director: William Wyler; Stars: Charlton Heston; Jack Hawkins; Stephen Boyd
One of my all-time favorites. I watch it every once in a while. Good family movie.

75. Dances With Wolves (1990)
Director: Kevin Costner; Stars: Kevin Costner; Mary McDonnell; Graham Greene
Kevin Coster will be remembered for cheesy pseudo-epics where he always tries to do a real poor imitation of a regional dialect.

77. American Graffiti (1973)
Director: George Lucas; Stars: Richard Dreyfuss; Ron Howard; Candy Clark; Harrison Ford; Paul LeMat; Cindy Williams; Mackenzie Phillips; Charles Martin Smith
Fell asleep.

78. Rocky (1976)
Director: John G. Avildsen; Stars: Sylvester Stallone; Talia Shire; Burgess Meredith
Hmm. Someone I know went to school with Sly Stallone and said he's really very articulate and intelligent.

79. The Deer Hunter (1978)
Director: Michael Cimino; Stars: Robert De Niro; Christopher Walken; Meryl Streep
Fell asleep. Watched this the same weekend as Apocalypse Now.

83. Platoon (1986)
Director: Oliver Stone; Stars: Tom Berenger; Willem Dafoe; Charlie Sheen
Shouldn't have bothered with this one.

84. Fargo (1996)
Director: Joel Coen; Stars: Frances McDormand; William H. Macy; Steve Buscemi
I loved William H. Macy in this one; became a fan of Macy and Buscemi. A little too much profanity, but well-done.

91. My Fair Lady (1964)
Director: George Cukor; Stars: Rex Harrison; Audrey Hepburn; Stanley Holloway; Gladys Cooper; Wilfrid Hyde-White
Huh?

94. GoodFellas (1990)
Director: Martin Scorsese; Stars: Robert De Niro; Joe Pesci; Ray Liotta; Lorraine Bracco
Ranks right up there with Godfather in my book. Possibly Ray Liotta's only enduring movie role.

98. Unforgiven (1992)
Director: Clint Eastwood; Stars: Clint Eastwood; Morgan Freeman; Gene Hackman
Fell asleep in the theater watching this one.

99. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
Director: Stanley Kramer; Stars: Katharine Hepburn; Spencer Tracy; Sidney Poitier


Anchors aweigh!

In recent years I have seen two common spelling errors: anchors away and in memorium. Perhaps, however, the incorrect spellings have become popular, like vittles for victuals, and are now acceptable.

The first error (anchors "away") I have found most commonly in scrapbooks. I guess scrapbookers aren't known for their English skills, however, if a layout I had done was chosen for publication, I would think I'd have someone spell-check everything before I sent it in.

The second error (in memorium) I have seen in newspapers and on a published, commissioned orchestral score at a huge music store in downtown St. Louis. Don't you think they'd have someone in the editing department capable of checking these types of things?

Finding the information on Silent Night reminded me of when I was plebe at the Naval Academy. For some reason, I was a member of the dopiest class in years, and within that dopiest class, I was a member of the most nerdy and clumsy company possible. We came in dead last plebe summer in the race for color company. We couldn't close order drill to save our lives, we were notorious for not getting wheel turns right, and during ac year we came in just about dead last in academics and professional development.

Anyway, word got out that I could read music, so my squad leader put me in charge of teaching the company how to sing all the motivational ditties we'd need to know when the football season came around. (It is required for the entire brigade to attend every home football game and the Army-Navy game.)

It came time to learn Anchors Aweigh with modified words for Navy...
Stand Navy down the field, sails set to the sky.
We'll never change our course, so Army you steer shy-y-y-y.
Roll up the score, Navy, Anchors Aweigh!
Sail Navy down the field and sink the Army, sink the Army Grey.
For some reason, someone started singing it wrong - putting an eighth and a sixteenth note in the first phrase where it really had quarter notes. I didn't have the guts to ask my squad leader to correct the company, so I let them sing it the wrong way. They learned it incorrectly, and wound up influencing the rest of the battalion to learn it incorrectly, and it spread almost to the whole class that summer. When the bridgade came back, and we were singing at various functions, everyone noticed the plebe class singing it differently than everyone else. I think it stayed that way for a while. I was really embarassed every time we sang it because I knew why so many of them weren't singing it right.

Moral of the story is, NAVY! - Never Again Volunteer Yourself.
Silent Night, sing it right!

There is a small but insistent subculture out on the Internet insisting (or at least hoping!) the world re-learns Silent Night the way it was really written. For those of you interested in rocking the boat, the original music is located about halfway down the page, complete with the option to print a printer-friendly version.
Advent, Part IV
Wake, awake, for night is flying;
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
Come forth, ye virgins, night is past;
The Bridegroom comes, awake;
Your lamps with gladness take;
Alleluia! And for His marriage feast prepare
For ye must go and meet Him there.

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her Star is risen, her Light is come.
Ah come, Thou blessed One, God’s own beloved Son:
Alleluia! We follow till the halls we see
Where Thou hast bid us sup with Thee.

Commentary

Why is it that in movies where sports are involved, the play-by-play commentary is always so cheesy? It doesn't matter how good the movie is, the commentary is always something real commentators would never say. The only one I can remember being close to accurate was in For Love of the Game.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Mostaccioli, anyone?

Bailey just grabbed a box of mostaccioli off the counter and opened it and poured it all over the kitchen floor.

Now she's bringing me a can of spray starch that she is using as spray paint for the walls and carpet.

I guess I'd better go. Long day ahead!
Thump!

I was awakened this morning by a resounding THUMP! coming from the direction of Bailey's bedroom. She'd done it again.

I have a feeling this is going to become a war of sorts. She has also taken another huge step in her curiosity. She can reach up onto the kitchen counter now (if she stands on her tip toes) and she has become increasingly fascinated with electronics equipment.

I see an exhausting season coming up. Anyone have any advice?

Monday, December 09, 2002

Milestones

Bailey hit several milestones today.

1) She covered her eyes when we said grace before dinner.
2) She pulled her pants off completely after Duane came home.
3) She successfully flushed a plastic baggie down the toilet without my knowledge.
4) She finally learned how to crawl out of her crib.
Reference

Thanks to Harry Lawrence (thought I don't know who you are!) for finding the source of the article about Lady Jane.
Modesty

Duane linked to the WholesomeWear site on his blog but didn't show the other designs of suits they have. I prefer the "Slimming Swimmer" to the Culotte Swimmer, personally. I think I might order one for myself.

We had been struggling with the problem that I love to swim and I want to get Bailey in swimming lessons, but we didn't want her to have to wear the typical swimsuits. We may need to wait a few years until she's in a size for a longer time since they are so expensive, but I sure am glad that someone is making modest swimwear - and that there is a market for it.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

And the beat goes on

While I was playing the introduction tonight for the piece our children's choir is rehearsing, I was reminded of something that was said to me several years ago while we were at the beginning of our "seeker-sensitive" worship philosophy.

I was rehearsing a piece on the piano with the "praise band" (a drummer and bass guitarist). I slowed down at the end of the intro (the typical cue to the congregation to start singing). I noticed that the couple of times we'd gone through the song the drummer had become increasingly frustrated and his wife was starting to get huffy. Finally the wife of the drummer looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said "You know, slowing down at the end of the intro sounds really artsy and all, but it makes it really hard on the drummer to find the right beat for the song, and it's very important that he has a good beat from the start."

I'm so, so grateful that we are no longer in a church that has that philosophy of worship.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Preview

On Wednesday I ran over to Mr. Lytle's house. He's the one making my viola. He said he had it finished but he needs 50% down now to help him recover costs so he can keep his business going. Anyway, the money won't be available until next week, so I asked if I could just come and look at it.

My goodness, it's a beauty! It took my breath away when I picked it up. He stained it a deep brown, almost black. The finish is nice and uneven - like it should be - not perfect like a factory-made instrument. The sound quality is much, much nicer than the one I was renting - and it's a lot lighter, too. All around it is much better quality, and for 1/3 the price. If it doesn't come with an oblong case, I'm going to buy one. I've always wanted one that I could fit music in, and my keys, and the shoulder rest and all the other junk you find yourself carrying around.

For those of you who play the violin/viola, do you use a shoulder rest? If so, what kind? I've been using a Wolf Forte Primo for years and years. Anything better?
Productive day

I had my sewing lesson today. We don't have enough money to buy material for curtains, so I thought I'd practice zippers. My friend Lori helped me make a zip-up cover to go on the vinyl pad on the baby's changing table. I picked some nice inexpensive green, pink, and blue plaid flannel and a pink zipper (in retrospect, not the best choice). We made it in about an hour, and spent the next couple of hours looking through old cross-stitch magazines. I found a beautiful harvest design for a table runner. I think I'm going to try to have it done for next year. I saw so many things I like I'd never have time to get them all done.
Pooped

Duane's at class tonight. Bailey's in bed. I'm tired.
Thought-provoking

I have repeatedly, on many occasions, told Duane that if I die in a manner that my organs can be salvaged and used in transplants, that I want him to sign the consent forms. I know a lot of Christians argue about organ donation (for instance, what happens in the resurrection if you don't have a heart?) and cremation, but I have never had any qualms about organ donation. If God chooses to take me and leave my body functioning, I think that using that providence to help other people live would be a blessing.

I was reminded of this while following a link from Brandon and Wendy's blog. While I would never want to diminish the extent of anxiety and grief a family must feel while waiting for an organ to come available, I am constantly reminded of the loss another family must experience.

In essence, saving lives through organ transplants is the ultimate juxtaposition of death as a result of sin and life as a result of sacrifice. I'm sure some of you philosophers and theologians could put it more succinctly.

If I ever find myself in that situation, I would hope that I would maintain the correct balance of joyfulness for a life saved and grief for a life lost.
Popsicle toes

You know, I grew up in a place that is really a bit colder in the winter than here in Louisiana. However, due to the drafty nature of this old house we're renting, I have been consistently colder here than I ever was in Maryland or St. Louis.

On a normal day, if I set the thermostat at about 68, it "warms up" to a cool 62. That doesn't sound cold, but it really is. It's enough that I sleep in a sweatsuit with socks on, and for the first however many years of my life I couldn't stand sleeping in all that bulk.

If we run the heater hard, we can get it up to 68, but it loses about 5 degrees in about 15 minutes if we don't keep it running.

Tomorrow afternoon Duane is going to put some of that stretchy-plastic stuff on the outside of the windows to see if that helps cut down on the drafts.

By the way, Matt and Sora, when you come, bring warm clothes. I know Monroe isn't as cold as Ithaca, but still, I don't want you to be uncomfortable. Hopefully the stuff on the windows will help keep things a little warmer.

Monday, December 02, 2002

She's pretty slick...

Gwen Shamblin has officially started her own cult.

I wasn't ready to trust CT so I went to check it out for myself.

From Gwen Shamblin:
DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF THE TRINITY DOCTRINE

Look clearly at the definition of the Trinity from the dictionary: "Are there more Gods than one? There is but one only, the living and true God. How many persons are there in the Godhead? There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory."

There is no reference in the Bible to the word "Trinity," and the only reason that I tell you this is simply because many people are not aware that this is not a Biblical term. The point, in and of itself, is not what I use to argue its invalidity. The Trinity tradition is based on human teachings which were formed between 325 and 415 AD. These man-made teachings have been debated since its inception. I should not be looked down upon because I continue the debate. Paul warns us in Colossians, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition…" (2:8). Why would anyone be threatened by examining a human tradition, even if it is generally accepted? I would be more concerned with someone who questioned the inspiration of the Holy Scripture, and there are many such leaders today who fall into that category and may have had better treatment than I. In other words, the teaching of the Trinity was formed hundreds of years after the time of Christ; yet the Old Testament and the New Testament are thousands of years old and are inspired… this is what God wants taught. Let’s break down this definition into several questions and tackle one tradition at a time.

IS JESUS GOD?

The answer: I believe that Jesus and God are two separate beings. I believe that Jesus is our Lord (referenced hundreds of times) and our God (referenced approximately three times), but I believe that the God of Jesus is God the Father. Jesus is not God the Father.

There are over 100 references to God as the Father, over 40 references to Jesus as the Son of God, a child's name, "Immanuel" (referenced in Isaiah and Matthew), means "God with us" and He is referred to as "Prince of Peace, Mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6.

All citations in the Bible to God’s Holy Spirit reference the word "Spirit." Therefore I believe that a child reading the Bible would easily understand what God is trying to get across to us - that God is the Father, Jesus is the Son of God, and God’s Holy Spirit is the spirit of God. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one in purpose, and yet, where Jesus’ will does not line up with the Father’s, through sweatdrops of blood, Jesus submitted and said, "Not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42), indicating there are two separate beings.

There is one God, and God the King has given His Son, Jesus Christ, all authority over heaven and earth; so if our God says to worship and bow down to His Son as well as Himself, we had best do it! The passages to back up this truth that God gave His Son all this authority are too numerous to reference, but here are just a few: 1Cor 15:27-28, John 17:1-2, Rev 2:26-27, Matt 28:18. God has allowed kings and royalty here on earth, and there is no one who cannot understand that the king’s son is royalty, no matter what age. Who in today’s world does not understand the position of Prince William? No one has ever argued that he is NOT royalty, entitled to the full respect of his position. Just because God, through His inspired Word, called Jesus His Son, it does not negate Jesus’ royalty, deity, position, power, authority - it does not make Him inferior. The approximately four references of the Jesus as "God" does not force one to believe that Jesus not the "Son of God" because again Jesus IS royalty and ALL authority has been given to Him by the Father and every knee will bow to "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1). Therefore Jesus is my Lord, my Savior, and my God. Please do not throw out the many references that say, "Praise be to the God and Father of Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). And what authority Jesus has has been given. Jesus himself taught us how to pray to the Father.

Again, I reference that not even Jesus knew the hour and the day of the end times (Mark 13:32). Therefore, it had to be a Father and a Son. In John 8:17-18, Jesus’ own authority was questioned, and He said, "In your own Law, it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father who sent me." Jesus Himself is telling you once again that there are two separate witnesses here. With so many references listed, why does a man-made teaching want to make the Father and His only Son one being? This is twisted, and we should rethink this man-made tradition.

IS JESUS A CREATED BEING?

The Bible does not use the words -"Jesus is a created being." Therefore, I will not add these words. However, Jesus is described over and over as the Son of God, begotten by God, from God, sent from God, firstborn, etc. Therefore, I believe - Jesus is from God and He is His Son! The Apostle makes it very clear … "When He (God) has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all." I Cor. 15:28 I believe that God is the Source of all and that the Son "was firstborn over all creation." (Col.1:15) They are one in purpose and all power and glory has been GIVEN to the Son. They are way up there. Creation is way below and it was created by God and Jesus and the Spirit - for Jesus and by Jesus. " For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things were created by him and for him." I Cor 1:16

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS EQUAL IN POWER AND GLORY?

The answer: No. "The head of Christ is God" (1 Cor 11:3). And yet Jesus has been granted the right hand of God and has been given all authority over heaven and earth, powers, rulers, and authorities, so that He would have supremacy over everything except for God Himself (see 1 Cor 15:27-28).

Even though God "was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him" and gave Him authority to forgive sin, and all authority was given to Him, and He was made our Lord and Savior by the Father, no scripture says that Jesus is the Father - but every scripture says that He is the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Please read the following scriptures to show that Jesus himself says that God the Father is His God - but no where does it say that Jesus is head of God or has given God anything.

"Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD." 1 Cor 11:3
"Jesus said, "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to MY GOD and your God.’" John 20:17
"About the Son, he says…’You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness, therefore God, YOUR GOD, has set you above your companions.’" Hebrews 1:9
"Praise be to THE GOD AND FATHER of our Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Peter 1:3

These types of scriptures are all over the Bible! How could someone state that Jesus and God are equal in all things when Jesus Himself refers to God as "His God." God never refers to Jesus as "His God." I am afraid that most people are more familiar with catechisms than they are with Scripture. This is horrifying and dangerous. The scriptures are teaching a scriptural line of authority - not polytheism. God and Jesus both are testifying that there is one ultimate God, and the authority that the Son of God has, was given to Him by the Father. Again, I refer to 1 Corinthians 15:27-28: "For he ‘has put everything under his feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does NOT include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.’"

Jesus states that He can only do what He sees His Father doing, and Revelations is clear that Jesus will be sitting at the right-hand side of God. Now think with me: Why would you not want to question a document made up by man that is claiming that Jesus is equal, when He Himself said that he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (Phil 2:5-11)? Jesus stated that the Father was "greater than I" (John 14:28), and when someone referred to Jesus as "good teacher," Jesus said, "No one is good - except God alone" (Luke 18:18).

This is an easy teaching: you bow down to the Father and His Son, to God and His Son - both being deity, but Jesus clearly under the authority of His Father. When Jesus is at the right hand side of God, why would someone want to endorse a teaching that says that Jesus is "equal in glory"? If they were equal in glory, why does the Bible tell us over and over that we will see Jesus sitting at the right hand side of God? Why doesn’t the Bible just say that Jesus and God would be sitting on two co-equal thrones?

Half of the Trinitarians say that they will bow down to both Jesus and God when they get to heaven, and the other half believes that there will only be one being - but they can never tell me which one will be missing: Jesus or God.

Teachers of the Trinity teach that Jesus is Jehovah; they have no scriptures to back this up, and why don’t they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that Jehovah is Jehovah?

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15). This is the authority line: God - then Jesus the firstborn - then God through the Son made all of creation. The Bible teaches us that the Son would reconcile all of creation back to the Father through the blood of Christ.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or power or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together…For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Colossians 1:15-20)

This is so easy and clear - unless you want to twist it. Someone might claim to you and boast to you that they are a better Greek scholar than all the hundreds of the prestigious Greek scholars of our day who accurately translated the Greek word into the English word, "firstborn," in the New International Version. These people may boast that they know better, but please be careful of people who add to or take away from the Bible. Think again with me - God was, then the Son (firstborn), and then together they made the heavens and the earth and God gave Jesus the authority that he has. That is why Genesis 1: 26 says, "Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air’ " Jesus was there in the beginning of creation with God. We know what a son is - why do we want to make Jesus the Father and not the Son - I will never know. Jesus never taught anything that wasn’t from the Father.

I have talked to several defenders of the Trinity recently, and they cannot answer this one question clearly for me: "When you get to heaven, will you bow down to Jesus?" They always answer "yes," but they get nervous because they see where I am going. Then I ask, "Will you be bowing down to God, too?" And they do not answer, because they then go on to say that Jesus and God are one. I then ask them, "Who will be missing - Jesus or God?" And they cannot answer. I pray that people will let go of man-made rules and hold on to the teachings of Jesus and of God through the inspired Word of God, which teaches you that there is God, and His Spirit, and Jesus, His Son at His right hand, and that every knee will bow to both Jesus and God.

Here are some other questions that stump people teaching the Trinity: "When the Heavens opened at the baptism of Jesus, did God say that He was pleased with Himself?" "When Jesus died on the cross and said it was finished, did God turn away from Himself?" No - "Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ - which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" A third question to ask them is, "Did the Heavens open and Stephen REALLY see Jesus at the right hand side of God?" We cannot argue that Jesus was only submissive when He was on earth - for Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Unless I've been smoking something (which she probably would say I have been since I'm obviously in a "counterfeit church"), she doesn't have a clue what the Trinity is, or what the creeds say, or how to interpret scripture. This whole argument trying to exonerate herself from "slander" (that she denies the Trinity) makes absolutely no sense at all. I can see why so many people are attracted to it. It says a lot without really saying anything.

And her conclusion from their "New Jerusalem" page:
In conclusion, we are grieved that you have not heard this message every Sunday and Wednesday since you were born. If you had, you would never have had the pain of overweight or divorce or financial problems (spending more than what you were given), etc. You would have struggled less -- with fearing God, and so you would have struggled less with overeating or drugs or anti-authority to husbands or bosses. In other words, your peace would have been like a river. It is time to turn all of this around. There’s no going back. It’s time for Hezekiah’s purification of the Temple and for Josiah’s reform. It’s time to clean house, and we are honored to stand up for God and His rights. All that matters is His church -the New Jerusalem.
Here's another interesting article.
Lady Jane Grey Dudley

My sister asked me this weekend "What's with this Lady Jane?"

Here's a synopsis I found on the Internet a while back. I don't remember where I found it, so apologies to the author for not being able to give a quote.
In the 442 years since her death, Lady Jane Grey has been seen by many as the archetype of a Protestant martyr. A religious heroine whose honour and steadfast faith led to her choice of death before heresy.

Sixteenth Century England was a turbulent time in the religious life of its citizens. The Reformation and Henry VIII's Great Matter had set Catholic against Protestant. At the heart of the debate was the contentious issue of transubstantiation. Tudor religious scholars debated the number of the Sacraments and the elements of the bread and wine. It was a principle many were prepared to die for. Indeed, religious debate was so rife in the period that 75% of the books published before 1550 were sermons or religious treatises.

It was in this environment that a daughter was born to the Grey family at their palatial hunting lodge, Bradgate Manor in Leicestershire. It was October 1537. Miles away, an event was taking place that overshadowed Jane's arrival. Jane Seymour had just presented her husband Henry VIII with a son, Edward. It was the male child Jane's great uncle, King Henry, had longed for. His desire for a male heir had already led him to divorce one wife and kill another. Queen Catherine and Anne Boleyn had been unable to fulfill their duties. To Henry's great displeasure both had produced daughters, (the future Mary I and Elizabeth I.) Prince Edward received a tumultuous reception. His birth was celebrated by days of feasting and merriment. Queen Jane's delivery of a son served to legitimise the King's treatment of his first two wives. In Henry's eyes, his union with Jane Seymour had been blessed and the country was assured of stable leadership.

Jane's schooling probably began when she was three years old. It was customary for the children of the nobility to begin their education from an early age. Because of this it has been estimated that Jane, at fifteen was probably equivilent to a young woman in her early twenties, in terms of her maturity and general knowledge. Jane was encouraged to excel in her studies more than her sisters, Katherine and Mary.

In 1553 King Edward VI was a sickly boy of fifteen. He had been plagued by illness throughout his life and was now suffering from advanced tuberculosis. It became clear to those who were close to the King that he would not reach adulthood. Henry VIII's Will named his daughter Mary as next in line to the throne. If Edward did not marry and produce an heir, a Catholic would rule England. As Edward's chief Minister, Northumberland knew that he would be punished by Mary for his harsh anti-Catholic policies. Jane Grey was fourth in line to the throne, and represented, for Northumberland, his only real chance to retain the power and status he had attained. He focused on fostering a close association with Henry and Frances Grey. By May he had convinced them to formalise their alliance through marriage.

Early in May 1553, Jane was summoned to her parent's presence to be informed she was betrothed to Guildford Dudley, son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. She protested, saying that she was already promised to Edward, Lord Hertford. This was probably the case, however it is unlikely that any formal arrangements had been made for Jane to marry Hertford. Jane may have made mention of this because of a dislike for Dudley and his family, not because of an affection for Hertford. Her parents assured her that her life would go on as before. Her studies would not be interrupted and she was to continue living with them at Suffolk Place.

On 25 May 1553 (may have been 21 May* ) Jane was married to Guildford at Durham House on the Strand in London. In the same ceremony, Jane's sister, Lady Katherine, was married to Lord Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke, and Northumberland's daughter, Katherine, to Lord Hastings. Jane's younger sister, Lady Mary Grey, was betrothed to her cousin, Lord Arthur Grey. The marriages allied Northumberland to three of the most powerful families at Court.

June 1553
Ten days after the marriage, Northumberland divulged his plan to Jane's parents. In June, Jane was moved to Durham House where she and Guildford were to live as man and wife. Jane later wrote of the Duchess of Northumberland becoming 'enraged' against her when she protested at having to leave her family home. It was at this time that Jane was informed of Edward's illness and to hold herself in readiness for whatever he may wish for her. Jane wrote later that she thought the Duchess's words were little more than boasting, and bore little consequence.

Edward VI was growing weaker each day, and Northumberland knew he must hurry to complete the final stage of his plan. Vulnerable and delerious, Edward was easily convinced that he must strike his Catholic sister Mary from the line of succession if he was to be true to his father's name and in his duty to God. Edward's councillors were reticent. Any change to the succession required the consent of Parliament. If Northumberland failed in his scheme and Mary acsended the throne, they would be punished for their disloyalty. Northumberland, a skilled politician, met their hesitation with abuse. He put his case, 'with a great rage and fury, trembling for anger,' threatening to ' fight any man,' who defied him. A few councillors were later to report that they feared for their lives if they did not obey him.

Northumberland's plans culminated in the King's 'Device.' The document, signed by Edward's council, removed both Elizabeth and Mary from the line of succession, naming Frances Grey and her offspring as the heirs to his dominion. Frances Grey was summoned to the king's bedside where she formally asceded the throne to her daughter, Jane.

On Thursday 6 July 1553 the fifteen year old king died, surrounded by his Privy Coucillors, who gathered at his bedside.

Jane had spent the few weeks beforehand, ill, at Chelsea Manor House. So ignorant was she, of Northumberland's plans, that she suspected her mother-in-law of trying to poison her. News of Edward's death was supressed, until Sunday 9 July, when a barge brought Mary Sidney, Jane's sister-in-law, to Chelsea. Mary, 'with more gravity than usual,' informed Jane that there was news of the King and she must go with her to Syon House. Two hours later, Jane and Mary entered Syon House from the waterstairs. From here they went to the empty Great Hall. Gradually the room filled with people familiar to Jane, including members of the Privy Council. Jane later wrote that the company, 'began to make me complimantary speeches, bending the knee before me...all of which ceremony made me blush...My distress was still further increased when...my mother-in-law entered and paid me homage. Then came the Duke of Northumberland himself who, as President of the Council, declared to me the death of the King and ...that he had taken good care of his kingdom, praying to the good Lord to defend it...from the evil of his sisters.'

Dudley then said Jane, 'was the heir nominated by his majesty and that my sisters, the Lady Katherine and the Lady Mary Grey were to succeed me...at which words, all the lords of the Council, knelt before me exclaiming that they rendered me that homage because it pertained to me being of the right line...They added that they...swore to shed their blood and lose their lives to maintain the same.' The company then fell to the floor, their hands clasped out in front.

Jane went on, 'On hearing this I remained stunned and out of myself and I call on those present to bear witness who saw me fall to the ground weeping piteously and dolefully lamenting the death of the King, I swooned indeed and lay as dead.' Jane went on to say that she did not want the crown and , 'it pleaseth me not.'
Northumberland said, ' Your Grace doth wrong to yourself and to to your house.' He recounted the terms of Edward's Will. Jane's parents joined in, demanding that she accept. Jane then rose from the floor saying, '...If to succeed to the throne was indeed indeed my duty and my right, that He would aid me to govern the realm to His glory.'

On Monday 10 July 1553, crowds gathered along the Thames to watch barges move from Westminster to the Tower of London where canons announced the arrival of the new Queen. Jane was given chopines, 3ft wooden clogs, which were strapped to her shoes to allow the crowds to catch a glimpse of her. At the Water Tower gate she was presented with the keys to the Tower. The entourage then made their way to the White Tower.

Following this, a proclaimation was made, 'Jane, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith and of the Church of England and Ireland, under Christ on Earth, the Supreme Head.' On this day, a letter was sent to Mary from the Council, announcing that she had been declared illegitimate. Robert Dudley was sent to take her into custody, but Mary had been forewarned by a supporter and fled to Framlingham Castle in Norfolk, thus evading capture.

On 11 July, William Paulet, the Lord High Treasurer, brought the crown to Jane to 'see how it fitted.' To his surprise, Jane refused, saying that she had not asked to see the jewels. Paulet told her, 'you must take it boldly, and soon I will have another made to crown your husband with.' It may have been at this point that Jane realised the extent of Northumberland's plan. Northumberland had not wanted her as Queen. He had wanted her as his son's wife. Guildford as King of England, would give Northumerland supreme power. Jane would not be bullied. Calling some of her Councillors to her, she announced that she would not grant Guildford the kingship, but instead, grant him the Dukedom of Clarence. Guildford and his mother were furious. They berated Jane for her stubborness. Later, Jane would write, 'I was not only deluded by the Duke and the Council, but maltreated by my husband and his mother.'

Mary is proclaimed Queen
When it was decided by the Council that Jane's father, the Duke of Suffolk should set forth with his men to capture Mary, it was Jane who insisted he stay with her, to 'tarry at home in her company.' Northumberland was chosen to go in Suffolks place. His agreement, to leave the Council without his supervision, was a massive tactical error on Northumberland's part. In his absence, the councillors questioned his authority. By Tuesday 18 July, the full Council had left the Tower for a secret meeting at Baynard's castle. There they proclaimed Northumberland a traitor, and Mary, Queen.

On Wednesday 19 July, Jane's father received word from Baynard's Castle demanding that he order his daughter to relinquish her title. He rode to the Castle where he signed Mary's proclaimation. He then returned to Jane's apartments where he found her waiting in her chair of state. He said to her, 'Come down off there my child. That is no place for you.' He then proceeded to tear down the canopy, telling Jane to remove her royal robes. Jane replied, 'I much more willingly take them off than I put them on. Out of obedience to you and my mother, I grevously sinned. Now I willingly relinquish the crown...May I not go home?' Her father did not answer her.

On Thursday 20 July, while awaiting the arrival of supplies at Cambridge, Northumberland was arrested. On the same day, the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk left the Tower of London for Sheen, leaving their daughter behind. Jane was taken into custody by the Gentleman Gaoler, and moved her belongings from the Royal apartments to her new lodging at No. 5 Tower Green. Guildford was imprisoned next door in the Beauchamp Tower, and forbidden contact with Jane.

On 24 July Dudley was brought back to the Tower, this time as a prisoner. In the hope of securing a pardon from the Queen he recanted his Protestant beliefs, saying that he had been seduced 'by the false and erroneous teachings' of the new religion. He requested and was granted by Mary, the right to attend Mass. Jane watched from her window as he was escorted to the Chapel Royal. Disgusted, but not surprised by Northumberland's lack of honour, she was heard to say, 'I pray God I, nor no friend of mine die so.' Dudley was granted a three day stay of execution for his efforts, but could not escape death. He was beheaded on 23 August 1553.

Shortly before his death Dudley had written to the Earl of Arundel, 'Alas, my good lord, is my crime so heinous as no redemption but my blood can wash away the spots thereof? An old proverb there is, and that most true, that a living dog is better than a dead lion...I might but live and kiss her [Mary's] feet and spend both life and all in her honourable services, as I have the best part already, under her worthy brother and most glorious father.'

Mary entered the Tower on 3 August. The next day, Jane wrote a letter to her cousin. It was intended, she said, ' for the witness of my innocence and the disburdening of my conscience.'

On 29 August the author of Queen Jane and Queen Mary dined with Partridge, the Gentleman-Gaoler, at No. 5 Tower Green. Later, the evening would be described in great detail in the only contemporary chronicle of Jane's short reign. There is significant evidence to suggest that the narrator was a Rowland Lea, as the name is scrawled in the margin of the manuscript. The author writes of his surprise at finding Jane at the dining table. In high spirits, Jane assured him he was ' heartily welcome' and told Partridge and his guest to put on their caps, despite the fact that they were dining with royalty.

Jane and Guildford were tried at Guildhall on 13 November. Both were found guilty and sentenced to death. Even at this stage, Jane did not expect to die. Indeed, Mary probably had no intention of carrying out the sentence. It is thought that the civil disturbance known as the Wyatt Rebellion, changed her mind.

Sir Thomas Wyatt raised a small band of protesters in Kent, angered at Mary's choice of husband in Philip of Spain. A Spanish King on the English throne was unthinkable. Wyatt entered the City on 7 February 1554, however he failed to acquire the support of Londoners, and was arrested by soldiers loyal to the Queen. Henry Grey's part in the rebellion made Jane's execution inevitable. Grey had returned to Bradgate where he had set about raising resistance in the Midlands. He was captured before he could do so.

The success of Mary's alliance with Spain depended upon the stability of her kingdom. She was left with little choice other than to remove every trace of unrest. On 7 February Mary signed the death warrants of, 'Guildford Dudley and his wife...' The execution was set to take place two days later.

Although it hath pleased God to hasten my death by you, by whom my life should rather have been lengthened, yet can I patiently take it, that I yield God more hearty thanks for shortening my woeful days, than if all the world had been given unto my possession, with life lengthened at my own will. And albeit, I am well assured of your impatient dolours redoubled many ways, both in bewailing your own woe and especially, as I am informed, my woeful estate; yet, my dear father, if I may without offence rejoice in my own mishap, herein I account myself blessed, that washing my hands with the innocency of my face, my guiltless blood may cry before the Lord, 'Mercy to the innocent...In taking [the crown] upon me, I seemed to consent and therein greviously offended the Queen and her laws...And thus, good father, I have opened unto you the state in which I presently stand, my death at hand,although to you it may seem woeful, yet to me, there is nothing more welcome than from this vale of misery to aspire to that heavenly throne of all joy and pleasure, with Christ our saviour...

Your obedient daughter 'til death
Jane Duddley.'

Jane wrote this letter in her Greek Testament, to her sister, Katherine Grey, shortly before her execution...

' I have sent you, good sister Katherine , a book, which although it be not outwardly trimmed with gold, yet inwardly it is more worth than precious stones. It is the book, dear sister, of the laws of the lord: It is His Testament and Last Will, which He bequeathed unto us wretches, which shall lead you to the path of eternal joy, and if you, with a good mind read it, and with an earnest desire, follow it shall bring you to an immortal and everlasting life. It will teach you to live and learn you to die...[the book] shall win you more than you should have gained by the possession of your woeful father's lands, for as if God prospered him, you shall inherit his lands...[the contents contain] such riches as neither the covetous shall withdraw from you, neither the theif shall steal, neither let the moth corrupt...And as touching my death, rejoice as I do and consider that I shall be delivered of this corruption and put on incorruption, for as I am assured that I shall for losing of a mortal life, find an immortal felicity. Pray God grant you and send you his grace to live in the love...

Farewell good sister, put only your trust in God, who only must uphold you,
Your loving sister, Jane Duddley.

Dr Feckenham
On 8 February 1554, Jane was told to prepare for death the following morning. It was on this day that Dr Feckenham, Mary's chaplain, visited her to offer religious counsel and the opportunity to convert to Catholicism before her death. Jane told him, 'I am ready to face death patiently and in whatsoever manner it may please the Queen to appoint.' She went on to say that she, had no time for the 'controversy,' between the two religions. All that she sought, was the peace to ready herself for death.
Feckenham took her reference to lack of time literally. He believed that Jane may have felt the need to recant her beliefs but did not have enough time to do so. He informed Mary, who granted Jane and Guildford a reprieve of three days for their 'spiritual enlightenment.' When Feckenham informed Jane, she was dismayed. 'Alas, sir! I did not intend what I said to be reported to the Queen, nor would I have you think me covetous of a moments longer life. I am only solicitous for a better life in Eternity and will gladly suffer death since it is Her Majesty's pleasure...Let me make my peace with God.'

Feckenham was later to report that he was struck by Jane's gentleness and honour. He asked that she may allow him to accompany her to the scaffold, to which she consented.

It was decided that Guildford would be executed on Tower Hill and Jane within the confines of the Tower. On 11 February Guildford requested the right to meet with Jane. Mary consented, adding that she hoped it would be of some consolation to them both. When word was sent to Jane, she refused, replying that, 'it would disturb the holy tranquility with which they had prepared themselves for death.' Jane added that her presence would, 'weaken rather than strengthen him,' that he should, 'take courage from [his] reason, and derive constancy from [his] heart.' If his soul was not at peace she would not settle it with her eyes, nor confirm it with her words. They must postpone their meeting until they 'met in a better world, where friendships were happy, and unions indissoluble, and theirs,' she hoped, 'would be eternal.'
Around 10 o'clock on the morning of 12 February, Jane watched from her window as her husband was led from the Beauchamp Tower on his way to Tower Hill. She was still at the window when his body was brought back into the Tower, his head wrapped in bandage at his side. Those in her company reported later that she wept openly at the sight, and was heard to utter his name and something about the 'bitterness of death.'

Jane had spent the morning in prayer and writing letters of farewell. Shortly before 11 o'clock she was collected by the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Brydges. Jane then made her way to the scaffold, clutching Brydges arm.Yeoman of the Guard surrounded the wooden structure that had been erected the day before. At the scaffold, Jane was met by Dr Feckenham, along with several other Tower chaplains.

An observer recorded what took place. Jane then spoke to Feckenham; 'God grant you all your desires and accept my own hearty thanks for all your attention to me. Although indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.' She then climbed the stairs, 'nothing at all abashed...neither her eyes moistened with tears, although her two gentlewomen...wonderfully wept.'

Jane then addressed the crowd and recited the fifty-first psalm in English. Dr Feckenham followed in Latin, after which she told him, ' God I beseech Him abundantly reward you for your kindness to me.'

Jane then gave her gloves and handkerchief to her lady-in-waiting, Mrs Ellen, and handed her prayer book to Sir John Brydges. When she began to untie her gown herself the executioner stepped forward to help, but she brushed him aside. Mrs Ellen helped her to remove her headdress and neckerchief, and dispense with her heavy outer garment. The executioner then knelt and asked for Jane's forgiveness, which she gave 'most willingly.' There followed a five minute silence, whereby officials await a last-minute reprieve from the Monarch.

The executioner then told Jane where to stand. She replied, 'I pray you despatch me quickly.' She began to kneel, then hesitated and said, 'Will you take it off before I lay me down?' The executioner answered, 'No madame.' Jane then tied the handkerchief around her eyes. Unable to locate the block, she became anxious, 'Where is it? What shall I do? Where is it?' she asked, her voice faltering. Those who stood upon the scaffold seemed unsure of what to do. 'One of the standers by' climbed the scaffold and helped her to the block. Her last words were, 'Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.'

According to tradition, her head was then held aloft with the words, 'So perish all the Queen's enemies. Behold, the head of a traitor.'

And the sun, for sadness, would not show its head.(Shakespeare)

New blog

Some of you may have noticed a guy named Bill commenting on blogs - he's an elder at the church I grew up in. He's made his entry into blogdom.
Epiphany

I've just had one. No, not the metaphysical kind - the "Duh!" kind.

We are having some guests over who are vegetarians. Since I'm not used to cooking entirely meatless meals, I panicked and thought "Oh no! I don't have any idea how to cook for a vegetarian!" It took a while for me to calm down. Once I did, I realized that maybe it isn't such a difficult thing after all. My whole life I've been cooking in a set paradigm - vegetable, starch, meat. Duane doesn't like casseroles, so I've pretty much weaned those out of our diet. Beyond that, however, it's hard to come up with hundreds of ways to manipulate chicken and beef. We don't eat much beef anymore - maybe the occasional steak - and chicken is expensive no matter how you buy it.

On the trip back from Roanoke I was flipping through the most recent issue of Cooking Light - one of my favorite cooking magazines - and I noticed that a lot of their recipes are meatless. The only meat recipe that jumped out at me was steak and blue cheese pizza - yummy! - but the rest were meatless. I'd like to try all of them. I already make white pizza (which was one of the recipes), and they also had buttered brussels sprouts and pecans, sweet potato quick bread, parmesean risotto, and some others.
Comin' out east

I will truly, honestly, really (I've got the tickets to prove it!) be in Severna Park December 23 - December 31 with Bailey (and Duane, although he's only staying two days) for Christmas.

If anyone who lives out that way would like to get together - let's plan it! I promise I won't have the scheduling problems I had last time (no dead cats in the drain; no Bailey with a fever - Lord willing). I'd love to have some social time with y'all.

Oh, and Brian, I love the logo. It just says it all, doesn't it?

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