Saturday, 20 April 2019

Easter Day

"This joyful Eastertide", one of my favourite Easter Hymns.

Best sung by a good choir, in this case from King's College Cambridge, U.K.

Friday, 19 April 2019

For Passover

Passover begins today (April 19th 2019) at Sundown.  The Seder, a both solemn and joyful meal, commemorates G-d's liberation of Israel from bondage in Egypt.

Seders take place in Synagogues and in homes.

The Passover meal ceremonies vary from Jewish community to community.  Whatever the ritual the essential theme is freedom, and gratitude.

In the Jewish diaspora the usual custom is to hold two seder meals.  This is never the case in Israel.

Here is why:


I suppose that it is impossible now to sit at Table for Seder without thinking of the horror of the  Sho'ah, (meaning "calamity" in Hebrew), even though there is a Jewish day of remembrance Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah“  which takes place a week after the seventh day of passover.

At Yad Vashem in Jerusalem there is an eternal flame, sacred to the memory of those who were butchered in the Holocaust.

"Barbed Wire" Sculpture at Yad Vashem

Stephen Paulus and Michael Dennis Browne created the

 Hymn to the Eternal Flame

(To the Eternal Flame at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem)

"Every face is in you, every voice, every sorrow in you.
Every pity, every love, every memory, woven into fire.
Every breath is in you, every cry, every longing in you.
Every singing, every hope, every healing, woven into fire.
Every heart is in you, every tongue, every trembling in you,
Every blessing, every soul, every shining, woven into fire."
 text ~ Michael Dennis Browne

The music is haunting. If you have never heard it (and wept), please do so no

Thursday, 18 April 2019

For Good Friday

"To Mock Your Reign O Dearest Lord"

Lyrics   The Revd. Fred Pratt Green (Dec'd)

Tune   "The Third Tune" Thomas Tallis

To mock Your reign O dearest Lord
They made a crown of thorns
Set You with taunts along the road
From which no one returns
They did not know as we do now
That glorious is your crown;
That thorns would flower upon Your brow
Your sorrows heal our own

In mock acclaim O gracious Lord
They snatched a purple cloak
Your passion turned for all they cared
Into a soldier's joke
They did not know as we do now
That though we merit blame
You will Your robe of mercy throw
Around our naked shame

A sceptered reed O patient Lord 
They thrust into Your hand
And acted out their grim charade
To its appointed end
They did not know as we do now
Though empires rise and fall
Your Kingdom shall not cease to grow
Till love embraces all

For Maundy (Holy) Thursday

"The Servant Song"   especially at the Foot Washing.

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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Inquisitive and Cautious

Dogs are both inquisitive and cautious about something new.  This was essential in their evolutionary development.

This vital evolutionary behaviour is a living stream, which I even now observe in Zion the wonder dog.

He needed a new bed.

I had a Four Poster Canopied Bed in mind, but I could not find one in canine size.

So I settled for this:

He's tried it out, but he  is not yet excited or appreciative.   

True to canine form he is both inquisitive and cautious.

Ain't evolution and adaptation wonderful!

Monday, 15 April 2019

My bittersweet Notre Dame story.

In 1991 I spent three wonderful months on sabbatical leave in Atlanta GA.  I have a ton of tales about that sabbatical.

As my time there drew to a close, my friend and former colleague Mary Lou La Vallee was in town.  We went to a superb performance of Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass" at a big and prosperous Presbyterian Church on Peachtree St. 

(Probably this one, but I can't be sure)

Formal sabbatical over  I set off for a driving tour in  Europe where I was joined by my Pittsfield, MA friend Joe S.

We had lovely days in Italy and in Geneva, Switzerland from where we drove to Paris, arriving on a Sunday afternoon.

Of course we did not have Hotel reservations!   But I had a wee sense of the geography of Paris so I directed Joe (the driver) to the left bank and the Sorbonne area.  I told Joe "if you see a street parking area take it".  He did, and we found ourselves to be  almost across the street from an inexpensive hotel.

Truth upon truth we encountered a toothless concierge (French Novel anyone?) and were able to secure a room with two beds way up in the Mansard (123 stairs, no elevator/lift - I tell the truth).

We unpacked our belongings then  wandered down towards the Seine and had dinner in a mediocre Cambodian restaurant.

"Joe", I said after dinner, "let me take you to Notre Dame Cathedral.  It will be closed but you should see it at night.

It was not closed!  We entered and eventually found seats from which we enjoyed none other than Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass". What a gift!

'Twas magical.   Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass" in Atlanta, GA with Mary Lou, and a few weeks later at Notre Dame de Paris with Joe.

Religion apart, the immolation of  Notre Dame de Paris makes me very sad.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Australia and Clean Dogs

When I was in Australia (2011) I took a Boat trip down the Yarra River from Melbourne to Williamstown.   I had to see the only other Williamstown in the world - alongside Williamstown MA.

I decided to return to Melbourne by taking a train from Williamstown, rather than traveling  back on the boat.

I had to change trains at Newport (VIC) Australia.

Just outside the Station I was amused to see this business

I had visions of an early Ford Motor Company assembly line in which a dirty dog was cleaned up as she/he went down the line.


It's not that automatic.  

I found that out today as I used the DIY Dog Wash at the intersection of Beneva and Webber here in Sarasota, a couple of miles from my home

Zion was a trooper as I bathed him and dried him

Good DIY Dog Wash.  Good Dog as he enjoyed his wash.

Sad that I will no longer be taking him to the Pet Groomers of Sarasota on Stickney Point Road -  it's just too far away.