Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You Have the Right to Remain Happy


Wishing all you pups a Happy New Year - with no strings attached.


Cartoon used with the express written permission of Stu's Views


crossposted at firedoglake oxdown 30 dec 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cool Ham Radio Stuff

Fun piccolo parts - when I go to a concert I always check the health of the flute players, just in case they need an emergency backup player.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing


Music and lyrics from across the centuries, reminding us of hope and light in a dark time. I have tried to work over the years to bring hope to dark places. Having winter depression I know a little bit about that - different kinds of poverty - of the wallet, of the heart, of the soul. People come into our lives and bring blessings, sometimes quite unexpectedly.

My Christmas wish for you all is to be open to the messenger of hope and joy in your life. It may come in quite an unusual form, angels from the higher realm speaking to your heart and soul in the darkest hour.

Sire the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart I know not how
I can go no longer....
Mark my footsteps my good page,
Tread thou in them boldly,
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.

Let us be the footsteps ahead for each other.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Emergency Backup Organist: Teaching Children about Joy

Lost in joy at a Christmas concert with daughter-west, thinking of other Christmas music events over the decades and how they have also brought me such happiness.

Singing in church with my mother, father, grandma Mc, and siblings as a child.

Playing flute and piccolo for the Vienna VA church concerts for many years.

Caroling around the neighborhood - need to organize this again this year.

Strolling through the international carols book and learning new songs, singing at my piano-east.

Performing at Bailey Hall, Ithaca for an appreciative crowd in the snowy weather.

Listening to O Holy Night on the radio and crying because we are so far from peace on earth.

And, from the title, being the emergency backup organist in Virginia, especially Christmas Eve when there are so many services that the regular organist cannot play them all.

I always volunteered to take the Children's Service early on Christmas Eve. The children's choir kids were surprised to learn that I would let them play a few notes, in contrast to when I was a child -- maybe ten years old -- and harshly scolded for wanting to play the church organ, despite being a music prodigy. I always let the children hear how their actions make beautiful music. And they laughed so much when I showed them I played barefoot. Real grownups don't go barefoot! But it is the easiest way to feel where the pedals are, to follow them along the edge of my feet. So now you know my secret with both music and children: Share the joy.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Second Great Depression

The Second Great Depression - equally unthinkable as another World War after the War to End All Wars.

Economic collapse: coming soon to a town near you. I lived in a dying steel town in the 70s and well remember stories of the 30s from my ancestors. Father's family lost their house when the government reneged on veterans disability benefits. Mother's family fed homeless people by being ready with a plate of food when they came to the door. Dear God what have we allowed to happen to our country.

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it."

Photographer Dorothea Lange. I imagine the next generation of depression photographers will find plenty of opportunity.


Monday, December 01, 2008

What Is Left Undone

If I work to help this country I am not working in medicine. If I work in medicine I leave this country in ruins for my children.

If I offer up my time and essence and it does not solve the problem I cannot do more.

I give all I have and it is not enough. I have done my best. Forgive.